Silverstone "cautiously optimistic" over F1 British GP fan return

The boss of Silverstone feels "cautiously optimistic" Formula 1 fans could return to the circuit for the British Grand Prix in July following the latest government announcements

Silverstone "cautiously optimistic" over F1 British GP fan return

The British government unveiled its road map for easing the current lockdown measures earlier this week, which included plans for spectators to attend live sporting events by the summer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament that "the turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate" as he outlined the blueprint for fans to return to the grandstands.

Under the proposals, large outdoor seated venues will be permitted to allow up to 10,000 fans or 25% of the total seat capacity - whichever is lower - from 17 May.

This could then be increased as early as 21 June, leading to suggestions that many of the UK's major summer sports events could enjoy capacity crowds amid the ongoing vaccination campaign and falling COVID-19 case numbers.

The British Grand Prix ran behind closed doors in 2020, and while the race would be in line to benefit from the government measures on spectator access for 2021, managing director Stuart Pringle remained cautious in his messaging.

"I'm cautiously optimistic, there is a long way to go," Pringle said in an interview with BBC 5 Live on Wednesday morning.

"But the requirements have been clearly set out. There are variables that are within nobody's control, if another variant of concern were to arrive, or if there was a problem with the vaccination roll-out.

"But equally, things have been going well, and I think that people want to get behind an opportunity that gives some light at the end of the tunnel.

"The government is right to point out this is the fourth step, and there are three [before], and things could go wrong at every stage.

"So it's by no means certain. It's very difficult as a promoter."

The British Grand Prix typically welcomes up to 340,000 fans across the three-day race weekend, with a high number of tickets sold for last year's race being rolled over to 2021.

One proposal to emerge in recent days surrounds vaccine passports, serving as proof that those attending large sporting events have received a COVID-19 vaccination and have been tested regularly.

Asked for his thoughts on using vaccine passports to ensure safe access for spectators, Pringle said it was "in principle a good idea for live sport events."

"Those of us who run sports stadia have been talking to the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport about potentially hooking in our electronic ticket apps to the NHS app to find a way of validating your entry ticket, if you have got the correct test result on your NHS app," Pringle said.

"So I think it's absolutely worth exploring, and I think fans would go for it.

"I think fans, if it involves a little bit of effort, or possibly even a bit of cost, the chance to go and see your team, to see your favourite sport, that's something that we'd all consider this summer."

The British Grand Prix is scheduled to take place at Silverstone from 16-18 July.

shares
comments
Podcast: What we learned from the Red Bull RB16B F1 car launch

Previous article

Podcast: What we learned from the Red Bull RB16B F1 car launch

Next article

The pros and cons of F1’s 2021 rule changes

The pros and cons of F1’s 2021 rule changes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Luke Smith
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021