The UK government’s plans to begin talks in a bid to resume sport in Britain has left Silverstone encouraged about its prospects of hosting a Formula 1 British Grand Prix this year.

On Monday morning Silverstone confirmed that the British Grand Prix is currently going ahead on July 19 as planned but the race would only take place without spectators due to the continued social distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus crisis.

A move for a series of meetings intended at getting major sporting events back underway in the UK has been announced, with culture secrety Oliver Dowden telling MPs last week that he had held “productive talks” with governing bodies across British sport about restarting following the coronavirus-related shutdown.

The 2020 season has been temporarily suspended until at least July after the first 10 races were postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic but Silverstone is open to hosting more than one behind closed doors race in order to get the campaign off the ground in line with F1’s ambition.

"Whilst there's an ounce of doubt about safety, for the fans, for all the teams, and for then people who earn their living in the sport, we have to do the right thing," Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said in the latest Sky Sports F1 Vodcast. 

"Racing behind closed doors, that would be entirely subject to government rules.

"But it's very encouraging that the department of digital, culture, media and sport at the weekend indicated that they are keen to start a dialogue between medical officials and people in sport to see what might be done to achieve that.

"We are working together with Formula 1 and the medical officials to see how we can do that for some kind of British Grand Prix behind closed doors.”

Pringle admitted that Silverstone still has a number of hurdles to overcome for the race to go ahead, but reiterated that the Northamptonshire track will do everything it can to help F1’s bid to resume racing.

"Of course we want the race to happen," he explained.

"The challenge is this is a situation that is unfolding and quite what the scale, the costs associated with that, the logistics, the complications - all of that is still being worked through.

"It's not as simple as me giving you a yes or no answer or a figure. It's actually understanding the scale of the problem.

"We're totally optimistic we can help Formula 1 with a decent season, and one that we can play a meaningful role.

"By that I mean, possibly more than one round if that is what works, although it would make a lot more sense to carry on country to country. That's a smoother way of operating.”

Asked if Silverstone has a deadline for a final decision on the race to be made, Pringle replied: "I don't have a precise date for you.

"I think the challenge is much more around knitting together a season that will flow naturally and have certainty that it will run.

"We can be very flexible at Silverstone."

 

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