Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle says the UK government’s early stance on sport resuming in the country is an encouraging sign for the British Grand Prix.
Silverstone announced on Monday that Britain’s showcase motorsport event could take place in July as scheduled but without any fans allowed to attend the race.
The measure is the price to pay for keeping the British Grand Prix on the calendar amid a 2020 F1 season disrupted by the coronaviruis pandemic.
“We’ve got a very active and busy line of communication with Formula 1,” Pringle told Sky F1 on Monday.
“We’re all striving for the same aim here which is to get the season underway.
“It’s a great shame that we’ve had to announce today that we are not going to be able to run in front of fans.
“We let it run as long as we reasonably could. But it’s quite clear from the situation nationally that it’s not going to be clear enough for us to run with fans.”
Silverstone confirms British GP won’t be open to fans
In an effort to gradually return the UK to normality, the government is holding preliminary talks with sporting authorities around the country to assess how live events could take place over the summer.
“Racing behind closed doors, that would be entirely subject to government rules,” commented Pringle.
“But it’s very encouraging that the department of digital, culture, media and sport at the weekend indicated that they are keen to start a dialogue between medical officials and people in sport to see what might be done to achieve that.
“We are working together with Formula 1 and the medical officials to see how we can do that for some kind of British Grand Prix behind closed doors.”
Beyond the health and safety issues associated with keeping the British Grand Prix alive, Silverstone also faces a series of practical and financial issues that will require solving, much of which will depend on the format that F1 and the circuit will choose, with the option of running two races on consecutive weekends currently under consideration.
“Of course we want the race to happen,” added pringle. “The challenge is this is a situation that is unfolding and quite what the scale, the costs associated with that, the logistics, the complications … all of that is still being worked through.
“It’s not as simple as me giving a yes or no answer or a figure. It’s actually understanding the scale of the problem.
“We’re totally optimistic we can help Formula 1 with a decent season, and one that we can play a meaningful role.”
“By that I mean, possibly more than one round if that is what works, although it would make a lot more sense to carry on country to country. That’s a smoother way of operating.”
Pringle stressed that a deadline associated with the British race was still in the works.
“I don’t have a precise date for you,” he said. “I think the challenge is much more around knitting together a season that will flow naturally and have certainty that it will run. We can be very flexible at Silverstone.”
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