British GP: Silverstone still ‘optimistic’ F1 races will be able to take place

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle says he “remains optimistic” that the British GP will be able to take place this summer.

Home Secretary Priti Patel on Friday confirmed government plans for a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving in the UK from June 8.

Sky Sports understands that the government will continue to explore special solutions for elite sports, including Formula 1.

Under strict and extensive ‘biosphere’ conditions with the testing of personnel for COVID-19 every two days and using charter aircraft, F1 has been working on a plan to start the season with two races in Austria the start of July before heading to Silverstone at the end of that month for two more events at the Northamptonshire track.

Silverstone mnaging director Stuart Pringle is confident F1 can prove its personnel can enter the UK safely without the need for quarantine.

In an interview on Friday with Sky Sports, Pringle said: “It’s a very complex sport to get going because it’s a global championship with a huge logistical tail. So Formula 1 does need to know that it can set off on its global travel and be able to come in and out of its home base.

“I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by government. I remain very optimistic that they will find a way. I’m very, very conscious that it’s extremely complicated drafting these things and working up against ever-moving deadlines – it’s not a task I’d wish to undertake.

“So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found.”

Pringle added that he was “100% confident” that F1’s health and safety procedures would be deemed sufficient to run the event, adding: “They have already got a highly-developed set of procedures in place.”

Although it is already confirmed that the planned events would run without fans in attendance, Pringle said the significance of the British GP was about more than just about sport.

“This isn’t just 90 minutes of an exciting sporting race. This is about getting an industry back to work,” said Pringle, with seven of F1’s 10 teams based in the UK.

“This is about 40-plus thousand’s people’s livelihoods being ignited.

“The racing is at the very top of the pinnacle. Formula 1 is absolutely the top of the motorsport tree, it’s the bit that we see and it’s the most visible bit. But it is the stand-bearer for this industry and it’s about getting an industry started again.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve got many other sectors back up and running. That the construction work is back up and running. We know that the supply chain of food has never missed a beat.

“Our industry has stopped – stopped full stop – and we need to get it back going again. There are a lot of people’s livelihoods associated with this. It’s not so much about a race, it’s much more about getting back to business.”

More to follow…

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