Silverstone hope for 140,000 crowd at British GP

Jon Wilde
Lewis Hamilton, British GP

Lewis Hamilton crowdsurfs after winning the 2019 British Grand Prix

Silverstone are optimistic this year’s British Grand Prix will take place in front of a 140,000-capacity crowd after the UK’s lockdown ‘roadmap’ was outlined.

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, is hopeful that social distancing restrictions can be lifted from June 21 onwards in order to allow full crowds to attend UK sporting events – something which has not occurred since March 2020 due to the global health pandemic.

The British Grand Prix is due to be held at Silverstone on July 18 as the 10th round of the World Championship.

“A full crowd is still absolutely on the table,” Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle, who has been in regular contact with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the PA news agency.

“Silverstone is not a tight stadium in the same way a football stadium is or a tennis court.

“Our 70,000 grandstand seats are spread out over three-and-a-half miles. We have a lot of space, we are absolutely an outdoor venue, we have a lot of entrances and exits.

“Anything is possible, but it has also been made clear it is far from guaranteed.”

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In the roadmap for the easing of lockdown, fans are set to be allowed back into sporting arenas in limited numbers from May 17.

Pringle revealed that Silverstone had recorded its fourth strongest day of sales since last year’s British Grand Prix in the wake of Johnson’s statement on Monday.

It is understood the track could also host a number of test events for the Government to trial new rules.

Last season’s British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone both took place behind closed doors, with the Northamptonshire circuit now having gone more than a year without paying spectators.

Pringle added: “We have been hit with a double whammy because the other side to our business is conferences and exhibitions and they haven’t been able to happen either.

“We had one event only with fans in 2020, the Pomeroy Trophy last February which was attended by fewer than 100 people.

“It’s been extremely difficult. We have had no revenue, but have had all the costs of keeping a 550-acre site licensed, serviceable and capable of coming back.

“I want the 2021 British Grand Prix to take place with the largest number of fans attending as possible. That’s hugely important to Silverstone, so we will do whatever it takes to play our part in proving it’s safe to do so.

“I see a strong pent-up demand for that from the public. They absolutely want to come, so we have to create the environment where they are able to do so.”

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