Silverstone hopes to attract new fans with prime time spot

News Desk
Lewis Hamilton Silverstone

Lewis Hamilton wants F1 to "spice it up" when staging two back-to-back races at Silverstone

Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle hopes the ravamped schedule can entice new fans to motor sport as the track prepares to host two Formula One grands prix.

The Northamptonshire circuit will stage races on August 2 and August 9, when Premier League football is expected to be in recess.

Last year the British Grand Prix went up against England’s dramatic Cricket World Cup final triumph and the Wimbledon men’s singles final. This year it was initially moved back a week in July to avoid the Euro 2020 and Wimbledon finals but would have clashed with the culmination of golf’s Open.

Pringle told BBC Radio 5 Live: “On the one hand of course you want your sport to dominate the back pages and sometimes the front, but equally for the fans that attend the grand prix we have had some absolutely fantastic afternoons when we have gone over to the main stage and watched the football or the cricket final.

“Making an afternoon of sport is an amazing live event with being able to flick the giant screens over.

“And when you’re sitting at home being able to go from one great sporting event to another, we have been central to some of the great sporting weekends of the summer in recent years.

“But I do think that by being top of the bill this summer, hopefully we may introduce some people.

“We all love our own sport and sometimes we don’t try other sports. And actually if you’re a sports fan, just getting stuck into something is a great experience.

“It’s great to get sport back up and running and I’m sure we will pick up some new people.

“We are lucky at Silverstone, generally our venerable old circuit throws up some absolute humdingers, so fingers crossed that happens again.”

The announcement of F1’s provisional start to the season came this week as the UK Government granted an exemption for the 14-day quarantine period for international arrivals.

Pringle is sure the Silverstone team can rise to the challenge of putting on the closed-door events under the safety guidelines at short notice.

“I’m confident,” he said. “We will get everything ready. As a team at Silverstone we are used to changing our plans or having to deal with difficult, dynamic situations.

“We have some real challenges – in 2018 our MotoGP grand prix got rained off on the Sunday. In 2012 we had a stinking wet F1 race. Many people in the team were working at the one in 2000, which was a mud bath.

“We are used to dealing with challenges and we have plans for multiple scenarios, but all of them need to be finessed over the next few weeks and my colleagues are working extremely hard on them as we speak.”

Mercedes will be heading to Silverstone early as Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas complete a two-day test in their 2018 W09’s on June 9 and 10 in preparation for the new season.

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