St. Pete Grand Prix ticket holders won’t get a cash refund after race was canceled due to coronavirus
There is hope for the 2020 St. Petersburg Grand Prix. Image via city of St. Petersburg

St. Pete Grand Prix
Officials are still working to determine whether to cancel the race entirely.

Promoters for the St. Petersburg Grand Prix announced Saturday night ticket holders will not be able to get a refund.

Instead, those who purchased tickets to the canceled event that was supposed to take place this weekend can apply their ticket to next year’s race or use the entire ticket price plus 10% toward tickets to one of three other INDYCAR events this season, none of which are in the state of Florida.

Those include grandstand seating, general admission, camping, RV space or paddock access and pit passes at either the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Honda Indy Toronto or Grand Prix of Portland.

But Sunday morning, outrage over the decision had ensued.

Twitter user Brian Clapper wrote that he would consider suing if his tickets were not fully funded. Another, Paul McCracken, wrote that he traveled from Canada and was out not only the cost of tickets, but also airfare and travel expenses. That prompted other commenters from Australia and England to make similar comments.

Race promoters said ticket holders would receive more information Friday with next steps and instructions.


INDYCAR announced it was canceling all series races through April beginning with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

“After careful consideration, including regular communication with our event promoters, health officials, and the city administrations in our respective race markets regarding COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all NTT INDYCAR Series events through April,” INDYCAR announced Friday.

“Although we are disappointed to delay the start to this INDYCAR season and will miss our incredible fans who support us each year in St. Petersburg, Birmingham, Long Beach, and Austin, the safety of our fans, participants, staff, partners, and media will always remain our top priority,” the statement read.

“We will continue to coordinate with public health experts and government officials as we determine the appropriate plans for resuming our schedule.”

That comes after a Thursday announcement from Mayor Rick Kriseman that the race would continue but be closed to spectators.

His earlier announcement left it unclear as to whether the entire race would be canceled, but after a series of sports cancellations nationwide, the race is now off.

“We respect this decision. As I’ve said all week, this virus and the strategies to mitigate exposure have created a very fluid situation. We are appreciative of our outstanding partnership with IndyCar and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and look forward to the race returning to St. Pete in 2021,” Kriseman wrote on Facebook after the cancellation announcement.


Kriseman had originally said the event would continue as planned, with the public still able to attend.

Kriseman said he made the decision after a series of updates on the novel coronavirus that came down Wednesday and into Thursday.

“Yesterday I said the situation regarding the coronavirus was fluid. I said that for a reason,” Kriseman said. “Since yesterday, we’ve learned of a coronavirus case at an open-air event similar to ours, Bike Week. Then, at an EMS conference across the Bay from us. The World Health Organization has since called this a global pandemic.”

The IndyCar race event was set to begin Friday and run through Sunday.

“My most important job is public safety and health. It is for that reason that we are canceling general attendance at the Grand Prix,” Kriseman said.

“I don’t make this decision lightly. I strongly believe life must carry on, as best we are able. But the reality now is that’s just not possible. I am disappointed. I love this race. But I love this city and our residents more. Thank you for your trust.”

Kriseman held a press conference Wednesday in which he stressed the importance of carrying on with one of the city’s largest events despite two cases of coronavirus now reported in Pinellas County.

But fear over the spreading virus quickly grew throughout the day with news of the World Health Organization’s decision to upgrade the outbreak to pandemic status and of high-profile cases including one in the NBA that prompted the season to pause.

Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson also reportedly tested positive for the virus.


Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Ward Posey

    March 12, 2020 at 11:13 am

    Tom Hanks not Tom Cruise. Please edit correctly

  • LJ Steele

    March 12, 2020 at 11:15 am

    Rita Wilson is married to Tom HANKS, not Tom CRUISE. This article mentions “Tom Cruise and wife Rita Wilson.”

  • Bill

    March 12, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Please stop this overblown Corona virus joke
    People die like crazy from the regular flu and there is no outcry.
    This is all about lawyers, lawsuits and liability.
    Not compassion or caring

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn