Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton believes races without spectators are not ideal but worthwhile if it means the season can start.
F1 is planning to begin without fans in Austria on July 5 with the first 10 races of the season postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
‘I don't know how exciting it is going to be for people watching on TV but it is going to be better than nothing,’ the 35-year-old said in a video interview published by his Mercedes team on Saturday.
‘The more fans there, the more atmosphere you have. It is going to be very empty.’ Grands prix without fans are expected to take place until at least September. F1 hopes to pack in as many as 18 races before the end of the season, with a schedule expected soon.
‘For us it is going to be like a test day. But...racing is racing. I really, really do miss it,’ he added, saying he could not remember the last time he spent six weeks in the same place.
Generally Hamilton is hoping the coronavirus outbreak proves to have brought about some good - despite high death tolls across the world.
‘What is great is I'm getting messages from people around the world who are struggling during this period because they are not getting to watch sports. And it just shows how significant sport is in people's lives. It brings us all together,’ he said.
‘You have to look at the positives...the skies are clearer. I think people are probably appreciating this time more, their families more, their relationships more.
‘I really hope we all can grow from this experience and I hope it passes soon.’