Silverstone says full crowd for British GP 'absolutely on the table'

Circuit atmosphere - empty grandstand.
© XPB 

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle says that running the British Grand Prix in front of a full crowd next summer is "absolutely on the table".

The tenth round of the 2021 F1 World Championship is scheduled to take place on July 18, or four weeks after the end of the UK's COVID-19 lockdown measures as projected on Tuesday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

"A full crowd is still absolutely on the table," Pringle told the PA news agency. "Silverstone is not a tight stadium in the same way that a football stadium is or a tennis court.

"Our 70,000 grandstand seats are spread out over three-and-a-half miles. We have got 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," added the Silverstone boss who remain in close contact with the UK's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates with fans after the podium.

Ticket sales for the British Grand Prix were immediately boosted on Tuesday by the announcement of the government's roadmap to exit current restrictions and which projects to allow a limited number of fans back in to sporting arenas from May 17.

Last year, Silverstone hosted an F1 double-header behind closed gates, but the Northamptonshire track has inevitable suffered from the prolonged absence of paying spectators.

"We have been hit with a double-whammy because the other side to our business is conferences and exhibitions, and they have not been able to happen either," Pringle said.

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

"It has 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 is hugely important to Silverstone so we will do whatever it takes to play our part in proving it is 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."

There's no doubt British fans will be enticed by the prospect of Lewis Hamilton racing for an eighth British Grand Prix win at Silverstone next summer with the Mercedes driver also aiming for a historic eighth world title in F1.

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