Formula E chiefs have confirmed that spectators will be allowed to attend the London leg of the series this month.
But only 2,720 fans will be permitted on each of the two days of electric motor racing – around 10 per cent of the crowd originally envisaged.
The London E-Prix is being held at the ExCel Centre, which has been used as a Nightingale Hospital and a vaccination centre during the pandemic.
Racing will take place both inside and outside the building, with initial plans for 85 per cent of spectators to be indoors.
“Of course we would love to have a full house – that’s the reason why we went there,” said Formula E Cities Development Director Oli McCrudden.
“The USP of racing indoors and outdoors was having 20,000 people inside and creating this fantastic environment.
“Ironically of course, under current restrictions that USP is the one big issue.”
Of the 2,720 spectators at each day’s racing, 1,400 will be in grandstand seats and 1,320 will be hospitality guests.
It comes despite the likelihood that sports venues in England will be allowed to return to full capacity from 19 July – almost a week before the London E-Prix.
“We’ve been having lots of conversations with DCMS and working with other sports bodies,” said McCrudden.
“We spoke about the Events Research Programme for various elements around the location and what we can do with it and it just hasn’t gone our way.”
Formula E is also restricting numbers to help preserve a Covid-secure environment, with races taking place in New York this weekend and the season finale in Berlin next month.
London race means Formula E is ‘coming home’
The series has not raced in London since 2016, when it was held in Battersea Park. This year’s London E-Prix is the first of four contracted to take place at the ExCel Centre.
“HQ is here, and there has been a big London-shaped hole on our calendar for the last few years,” said McCrudden.
“It’s so important for our teams, our manufacturers, for us to be here in the UK and we’re thoroughly looking forward to it.
“I hesitate to say ‘it’s coming home’, but someone’s got to. That’s what we were looking for but the timeline hasn’t worked out for us this year.”
The circuit at the ExCel Centre will feature ramps in and out of the venue that has seen it likened to a Scalextric track.
Organisers say there will be light shows and live entertainment inside the ExCel Centre.
“We’re going to make it as spectacular as possible,” McCrudden added.
“Financially, clearly, the revenues from the gate money won’t be there in they way we planned.
“But at the end of the day we’ve still got to deliver, come what may.”