Ecclestone: Silverstone can survive without F1

Jamie Woodhouse

Silverstone offered to host up to 12 F1 races.

There is a growing chance that the British Grand Prix could be postponed, but former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t think that will damage Silverstone.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already forced the opening eight races of the 2020 season to be put on hold, with Australia and Monaco among them cancelled altogether.

The Canadian Grand Prix on June 14 is currently set to open the 2020 campaign, but there are fears looking ahead to the British Grand Prix on July 19.

Over 4,000 deaths have now been recorded in the UK due to the pandemic, and a decision on whether or not to hold the British GP at Silverstone as planned is needed by the end of April.

But even if the event doesn’t take place, F1’s former supremo Ecclestone says Silverstone Circuit has other sources of revenue to see them through.

“I think they’ve got themselves organised well and truly not to have to rely entirely on Formla One for everything,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

“They’ve got a very good brand and they do a lot of other things. Whether they would be able to continue all the stuff they do outside of Formula One, at the moment I don’t know.

“It’s no more easy for them than anyone else at the moment. I think everyone’s having to look at what they’ve done and can do in the future.”

The sport’s current owners Liberty Media intend on putting together a 2020 calendar of 15-18 races, but Ecclestone doesn’t think they could even manage the minimum of eight required for a World Championship.

“We should stop the championship this year and start again next year, hopefully, because I can’t see it’s going to be possible to get the right amount of races in that count for a championship,” the 89-year-old said.

“There’s got to be eight from memory, and I can’t see them getting that in. It’s a difficult situation.”

If a World Championship season did happen then Lewis Hamilton would be chasing a seventh title to put him level with Michael Schumacher’s record.

Ecclestone believes it would be a foregone conclusion that Hamilton would win the title if it was on offer in 2020, but says it would be an ideal situation.

“I don’t think it will make a lot of difference to Lewis. He would win whatever the race number, whether it be eight, 16 or 20,” he said.

“If it’s a world championship and he wins, it would go on his record and say he has won a world championship. The terrible thing is he would win all eight races. It wouldn’t be a super championship.”

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