British GP boss "cautiously optimistic" over fans return

The boss of Silverstone feels “cautiously optimistic” Formula 1 fans could return to the circuit for the British Grand Prix in July following the latest government announcements.

British GP boss "cautiously optimistic" over fans return

The British government unveiled its road map for easing the current lockdown measures earlier this week, which included plans for spectators to attend live sporting events by the summer.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament that “the turnstiles of our sports stadia will once again rotate” as he outlined the blueprint for fans to return to the grandstands.

Under the proposals, large outdoor seated venues will be permitted to allow up to 10,000 fans or 25% of the total seat capacity - whichever is lower - from 17 May.

This could then be increased as early as 21 June, leading to suggestions that many of the UK’s major summer sports events could enjoy capacity crowds amid the ongoing vaccination campaign and falling COVID-19 case numbers.

The British Grand Prix ran behind closed doors in 2020, and while the race would be in line to benefit from the government measures on spectator access for 2021, managing director Stuart Pringle remained cautious in his messaging.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, there is a long way to go,” Pringle said in an interview with BBC 5 Live on Wednesday morning.

“But the requirements have been clearly set out. There are variables that are within nobody’s control, if another variant of concern were to arrive, or if there was a problem with the vaccination roll-out.

“But equally, things have been going well, and I think that people want to get behind an opportunity that gives some light at the end of the tunnel.

“The government is right to point out this is the fourth step, and there are three [before], and things could go wrong at every stage.

“So it’s by no means certain. It’s very difficult as a promoter.”

The British Grand Prix typically welcomes up to 340,000 fans across the three-day race weekend, with a high number of tickets sold for last year’s race being rolled over to 2021.

One proposal to emerge in recent days surrounds vaccine passports, serving as proof that those attending large sporting events have received a COVID-19 vaccination and have been tested regularly.

Asked for his thoughts on using vaccine passports to ensure safe access for spectators, Pringle said it was “in principle a good idea for live sport events.”

“Those of us who run sports stadia have been talking to the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport about potentially hooking in our electronic ticket apps to the NHS app to find a way of validating your entry ticket, if you have got the correct test result on your NHS app,” Pringle said.

“So I think it’s absolutely worth exploring, and I think fans would go for it.

“I think fans, if it involves a little bit of effort, or possibly even a bit of cost, the chance to go and see your team, to see your favourite sport, that’s something that we’d all consider this summer.”

The British Grand Prix is scheduled to take place at Silverstone from 16-18 July.

shares
comments

Related video

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes
Previous article

The pros and cons of F1's 2021 rule changes

Next article

Red Bull's new RB16B has "good potential" - Perez

Red Bull's new RB16B has "good potential" - Perez
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.

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