Decision on British Grand Prix still ‘weeks away’

Jamie Woodhouse

Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle has said that a decision on whether or not to hold a behind-closed-doors British Grand Prix is still “weeks away”.

Formula 1 plans to start the 2020 season in Austria on July 5, while Silverstone set themselves a deadline for the end of April to decide if they were going to host a British GP this year.

That was before the idea of holding races behind closed doors really started to gather momentum, and while a British GP at an empty Silverstone has been talked up recently as a real possibility, Pringle warned that a final decision is still weeks away.

“We don’t actually know whether or not we have a race behind closed doors,” he told the BBC.

“I need to be clear on that.

“We need to understand from the government the criteria that need to be achieved to be allowed to run a sporting event behind closed doors. And I’m working with with the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport and with the governing body Motorsport UK to establish whether or not we can comply with those and meet them and surpass them.

“We also have to reach an agreement with the Formula 1 world championship. That’s not the work of a moment. There’s absolutely the desire on the part of both parties to make that happen but it’s it’s complicated, it’s contractual, and it’s it will take a few more days, probably weeks to get there.”

Pringle said the event had scaled up the number of people involved, so now Silverstone would need to investigate how it could hold a British Grand Prix with as few staff as possible and also put the necessary COVID-19 procedures in place.

“We were scaled up and that [meant] a lot of people. Just directly reporting to me with everybody that comes in it’s some 7,000 people that deliver the public elements and then there’s about the same again that work on the sporting side,” he explained.

“But we also need to understand what would need to be in place to run a a safe and secure event behind closed doors. And that will include things that we don’t normally do, like testing for COVID-19 and various medical procedures.

“So there’s a whole heap of work and it’s having to be done now by an awful lot less people that would normally do it and I’m becoming quite familiar with the wee small hours of the morning to try to get through the volume. But that’s no hardship.

“We’ve just got to get some clarity and see whether we can get at least a race behind closed doors. I think we’ll all enjoy that, it’ll be something for our summer even if we can’t be there in person.”

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