Silverstone would be open to hosting two successive behind closed doors grands prix to help Formula 1’s bid to complete a world championship season in 2020.

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has forced the start of the 2020 F1 season to be heavily delayed, with the opening nine races already postponed.

Recent discussions between F1, the 10 teams and the FIA have raised the possibility of holding all European races without spectators as they desperately try to get the campaign off the ground with the sport left in a vulnerable position financially.

Silverstone set an end-of-April deadline to decide on the fate on this year’s British Grand Prix on July 19, but circuit boss Stuart Pringle insists it is willing to be flexible and could either host two races over the same weekend or across consecutive weekends.

Such a move would be unprecedented as no circuit has ever hosted two races in succession in the same season.

“We have discussed all sorts of permutations including hosting two races over one weekend and two races over consecutive weekends,” Pringle told The Guardian.

“I have complete confidence in our ability to put on these events. We have a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, we can turn that on definitely.

“F1 has been working very hard to try and work out what the solution for the world championship is.

“We have been in regular contact with them, and have been asked could we hold a race or two and could they be behind closed doors. The answer is absolutely, we are open to looking into anything and everything.”

Championship officials are aiming to get the season underway in Europe in July and have targeted the Austrian Grand Prix as a possible starting venue for a race without spectators on July 5.

The French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard - which is currently the first unaffected race - looks increasingly-likely to be moved from its June 28 slot after the country’s government banned mass gatherings until mid-July. 

Pringle said he expects a decision from F1 on its plans for a full calendar early next month, but stressed a return to racing must be “appropriate”.

“I think F1 will make a calendar-wide decision in the earlier part of May,” he explained.

“They can’t set this ball rolling unless they have a solution that stands a fighting chance of running successfully over multiple races. That timescale would suit us if we didn’t have to put in the infrastructure for accommodating the public.

“It’s important any discussion of a return to racing is appropriate,” Pringle added. “Otherwise we risk being a distraction to the main message which is stay at home and we don’t want to do that.”

 

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