The UK government announced on Monday that it was delaying the end of the national lockdown by four weeks until July 19, a move that raised doubts over Silverstone’s hopes to welcome a full crowd for the British GP on July 18.

But a report by British newspaper The Telegraph on Friday evening claimed that Silverstone has been given the green light to have a 140,000 capacity crowd for this year’s race, which would make the British GP the largest attended event in the UK since the first national lockdown in March last year.

It would also be the biggest crowd at an F1 race since 2019, with the world championship slowly allowing the return of fans in limited numbers at some rounds over the past year. 

According to the report, the British GP has received approval to be added to the government’s list of pilot events for the return of spectators due to the Northamptonshire circuit being an open-air venue.

The vast 550-acre outdoor site would make social distancing easier to implement, with Silverstone boasting a grandstand capacity of 70,000, while designated general admission areas have space for another 70,000.

Silverstone’s location also means that most fans usually use their own cars to travel to the race rather than relying on public transport, further limiting the risk of transmission.

In a statement issued to Crash.net responding to the report, an F1 spokesperson said: “We are having very productive discussions with government on being part of the research programme and hope to be able to communicate the final position to ticket holders very soon.”

Silverstone is set to join the Wimbledon tennis singles finals in being permitted to host sell-out events under the UK’s ‘Events Research Programme’.

32,000 fans will be allowed to attend the The Open across July 15-18 and Wembley will be half-full for the final of the Euro 2020 football championship on July 11.

Pilot events for sport and music have been taking place in the UK since April as the country cautiously looks to return to normality following the success of its vaccination programme.