British GP "designed to feel like 2019" F1 race - Silverstone boss

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle says the full-capacity 2021 Formula 1 British Grand Prix is “designed to feel like 2019 and before” as part of the UK government’s COVID-19 lockdown-exit research.

British GP "designed to feel like 2019" F1 race - Silverstone boss

After the 2020 British GP and the following 70th Anniversary GP were held behind closed doors when large-scale public events could not be held during the initial phases of the coronavirus pandemic, this weekend’s race is expected to be a sell-out, with up 140,000 fans attending on race day alone.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton – a seven-time British GP race winner and the most recent victor in the event, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen triumphing in the sole 70th Anniversary race – said last month when the news that fans would be allowed back to Silverstone for F1’s 2021 return was announced that he felt the decision was “premature”.

But Pringle told Motorsport.com that the event “will feel normal” because “restrictions are disapplied” as the British GP has been granted a place on the UK government’s Event Research Programme – a gradually expanding series of test events aimed at studying their impact on spreading COVID-19 before remaining social restrictions are lifted in England the day after the Silverstone race.

Attendees at ERP events are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result or evidence of full vaccination status in some cases.

“So, we are legally allowed to run a normal looking and feeling event,” Pringle said. “Because that's the purpose of the research. To see what happens, to learn the lessons.

“What the government is seeking to do is to have a weapon in its armoury that it can deploy later in the year - particularly in the winter, when one might expect a resurgence of a virus - in order to keep sports events running.

“Particularly football this winter. Because of what it means to the country, because of what it means to the sports economy and the local economies in the country.

“So, it's entirely logical that they should want to - having done a series of different test events at ever increasing scale. It's entirely logical that right at the end of the restriction period, they should trial a large event at full scale.

“The base point is that this is designed to feel like 2019 and before.”

Read Also:

When asked about Hamilton’s comment at the Styrian GP, Pringle said he understood the world champion’s concern, but stressed: “This is only happening because the government believes it is appropriate for it to take place.

He added: “So, this is not something that is Silverstone's decision alone. In fact, on the contrary, this is very much part of the government's strategy to understand events.

“And I suspect Lewis is probably not familiar with the graduated programme of Events Research that has been taking place in this country over the last few months.

“But, if it isn't safe, it won't be going ahead. And it won't be me deciding whether or not it's safe, it will be Public Health England, the Director of Public Health in Northamptonshire, and Her Majesty's Government and their scientific advisors.

“So, I understand why he might be concerned, and that's very typical of Lewis - he's always very thoughtful of his fans and there are many, many examples of how he particularly here at Silverstone goes out of his way to engage with them and be available and accessible to them.

“He puts the fans first - he's one of the drivers that genuinely puts the fans first.

“So, that sort of comment is entirely in keeping with his fan-centric nature. But I don't think there's anything he should worry about himself unduly about.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ocon gets new F1 chassis for British GP to "eradicate doubt"
Previous article

Ocon gets new F1 chassis for British GP to "eradicate doubt"

Next article

Coulthard: Hamilton "truly relishing" Verstappen F1 title fight

Coulthard: Hamilton "truly relishing" Verstappen F1 title fight
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021