Formula 1’s private testing plan to ensure the 2020 season can get underway safely “won’t be straightforward or cheap”, Silverstone’s circuit chief has warned.

Last week, F1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn outlined plans to create a “biosphere” in its bid to start the season with back-to-back behind closed doors races across Europe, beginning with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5, followed by another double-header at Silverstone.

Championship officials remain determined to hold up to 18 races after seeing the 2020 schedule decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help achieve that target F1 wants to test everyone at a circuit for coronavirus as a condition of returning to racing.

The implications of a shortened F1 season |

When personnel from F1 teams, medical, marshal, broadcasters, F1 personnel and logistical staff are all considered, the number of people in the paddock is likely to be around 1,000, resulting in an extensive testing procedure.

It is understood that governments will require evidence of race personnel testing negative for coronavirus before allowing entry into the country, with Austria already stating that tests should be no more than four days old.

Stuart Pringle, the managing director of Silverstone, stressed that F1’s plan to source private tests to avoid taking away from health service suppliers would result in huge costs.

“F1 is talking about their need to implement some sort of testing regime if they are to take the championship on its global travels,” Pringle told The Guardian.

“That seems to be a necessity and it won’t be straightforward or cheap. F1 feels it needs to be clear that everybody in the paddock environment is testing negative.”

A final decision on whether the British Grand Prix can go ahead on July 19, even without spectators, is expected in the coming weeks with a number of hurdles still to overcome before a deal can be reached.

F1 could bankroll this year’s British Grand Prix to ensure the event goes ahead with Silverstone relying heavily on ticket sales to pay its hosting fee.

But much of the decision still falls heavily on the nature of national restrictions in place in the UK, with Pringle admitting that Silverstone hosting a race is “not a given” as talks between F1 and the government continue.

“I’m confident we could operate well within F1’s decision-making cycle,” he added. “They are the ones who have got to make the decision.”