Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

British Grand Prix 'not a given' even without spectators, Silverstone chief says

Formula One plans to start the season with two races behind closed doors in Austria in early July

Stuart Pringle, the managing director at Silverstone, has admitted that hosting the Formula One British Grand "is not a given" even after signalling hopes of hosting the race without spectators.

Formula One plans to start the season, put on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic, with two races behind closed doors in Austria in early July before potentially two more at Silverstone.

Any races will need government approval, with countries in various stages of lockdown with restrictions on movement and mass events.

Silverstone is keen to help the sport back on track but announced this week any race could only go ahead without spectators.

"The end of April for us was if we had to start putting up temporary infrastructure for hospitality and dealing with the public and stuff," Pringle told Reuters. "We are only working on fixed infrastructure (now) so it’s an awful lot less.

"I’m confident we could operate well within F1’s decision-making cycle," he said of any new deadline. "I think they are the ones who have got to make the decision."

Formula One's managing director Ross Brawn said the sport wanted to create a "kind of biosphere" at circuits.

That would involve getting everyone who entered the circuit tested and cleared for the coronavirus and then keeping them in a controlled environment.

"Austria fits that bill very well. It's got a local airport right next to the circuit, where people can charter planes into. It's not too close to a metropolis, it has a great infrastructure around it," Brawn told an F1 podcast.

"There will be no motorhomes, but there will be a full catering facility laid on that the circuit has."

Formula One insiders have spoken of teams staying at secure hotels with no interaction with local residents and no media access.

Pringle said Silverstone, a home race for seven of the 10 teams, could offer security.

"In the discussions within sport, about restarting in the UK, there’s been talk about the need for sites to be a bit like an island. To be controlled. We can achieve that," he said.

"We have all the facilities we need inside the circuit with the exception of a complete hotel. We have a half-built hotel, if that helps anyone."

Updated: May 2, 2020 05:41 PM

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