F1 steps up talks with Hockenheim after Silverstone doubts

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Formula 1 chiefs are hastening talks with Hockenheim after doubts emerged this week over Silverstone's ability to host the British Grand Prix this summer.

The UK's decision not to exempt F1 - or any other elite sports - from the country's upcoming 14-day quarantine measures has likely dealt a massive blow to Silverstone's plans to stage two races at the British track at the end of July and in early August.

The UK's stringent measures, the details of which have yet to be finalized, would prevent teams returning from the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix to prepare for the pair of Silverstone rounds.

F1 is subsequently considering a contingency plan that would involve all teams and personnel remaining in Europe after Austria and racing in Hockenheim, the home of the German Grand Prix which fell off the sport's calendar this year.

Hockenheim boss Jorn Teske confirmed to Motorsport.com that talks with Liberty Media had ramped up this week although there remained a lot of ground to cover for the two parties.

"It is indeed true that we are still in ongoing talks with Formula 1," said Teske. "We've moved from a casual conversation mode to a mode of sounding things out.

"We are sounding out under which conditions such a thing could be possible – [such as] the approval situation, infection situation, track availability. And, of course, economics. These are all important issues."

In the face of F1's disrupted season and the cancellation of the first ten rounds of the world championship, Hockenheim offered itself to F1 last month as a possible replacement venue.

Teske says the circuit's candidature to host an event behind closed doors will stand even if F1 and Silverstone receive a saving grace from the British government.

"It does indeed look as if the political decision on the subject of quarantine exemptions in England could have an impact on the European racing calendar and therefore on us," said the German.

"However, this does not necessarily mean that we will automatically be out of the race if the British Grand Prix takes place."

Formula 1 is working tirelessly to try and rebuild a semblance of a calendar, but the complexities associated with the coronavirus situation and each individual country's safety and lockdown measures are challenging the sport's efforts.

"I can imagine that there will be a provisional calendar with a few asterisks," Teske indicated.

"That is especially true because the legal situation in some countries cannot yet be seriously assessed.

"The topic of coronavirus with various regulations is very much in a state of flux. What is valid today may not be valid tomorrow."

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