Silverstone has confirmed that this year’s British Grand Prix, should it take place as scheduled on July 19, will not be open to fans.
The event has been put on hold as F1 seeks clarity on its near-term future amid the coronavirus crisis. But the prospect of racing behind closed doors has emerged for this summer’s races.
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Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle informed British Grand Prix ticket holders on Monday that it won’t be possible for fans to attend the showcase event.
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“I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone,” Pringle said.
“We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the Government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a Grand Prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.
“Our obligations to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in preparing and delivering the event, our volunteer marshals and Race Makers, and of course, you, the amazing fans, means that this is the best, safest and only decision we could make.
“We have consistently said that should we find ourselves in this position we will support Formula 1 as they seek to find alternative ways to enable F1 racing to take place this year.
“Following this weekend’s news from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport we are now working with them on the viability of an event behind closed doors.
“Should this be possible, it will be of some small comfort for you to know that the 2020 Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix will be available to watch live on Sky and Channel 4.
“Customers who have purchased a ticket will be given the option of either transferring their booking directly to 2021 or of taking a full refund,” he added.
“All customers will be contacted in the next two weeks with full details, so we do ask you to please be patient with us as we work through all our bookings.
“I can also confirm that next year, we intend to give away thousands of tickets for the 2021 event to NHS and other key workers who have literally been putting their lives on the line for us all, during these challenging times.
“No one can be in any doubt of the huge debt of gratitude we owe to them.”
Last week, encouraging signs emerged that Austria could kick off the season, behind closed doors, with a double-header series of events at the Red Bull Ring, on July 5 and July 12.
But the series of races will only likely go ahead if Silverstone is able to follow suit with a race, or two, of its own.
Following the cancellation so far of the nine first races of the 2020 F1 world championship, Formula 1 remains hopeful of putting together a calendar of at least 15 races this year.
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