A decision on whether the British Grand Prix is to be postponed will be be made at the end of April. Silverstone and F1 have issued a joint statement acknowledging that while other major events set for this summer have already been called off, the grand prix – scheduled for 19 July – was not under any logistical pressure to do so immediately.
Eight Formula One meetings have already been postponed or cancelled this season because of the coronavirus pandemic but the British Grand Prix remains on the calendar. With the UK still under lockdown Wimbledon, due to start on 29 June, is expected to be the next major event to fall. The Tokyo Olympics, Euro 2020 and the French Open tennis tournament have already been postponed and The Open from 16-19 July at Royal St George’s is also under threat.
According to the British Grand Prix’s organisers, however, the race remains viable for the moment. Their statement read: “Silverstone and Formula One remain in close dialogue regarding the ongoing situation and are assessing the feasibility of holding the British Grand Prix on 17-19 July.
“We fully appreciate that other UK sporting events in July have taken decisions regarding their events, but it is important to highlight that their logistics and sporting arrangements differ from Silverstone’s and, therefore, our timeline gives us until the end of April to make a final decision. The safety of our fans, colleagues and the F1 community will be our priority and we will continue to engage with the appropriate authorities.”
Last week Stuart Pringle, the circuit’s managing director, warned that if the UK’s lockdown, currently set to end on 13 April, was extended it would make preparations for the grand prix difficult. However the statement suggests both F1 and Silverstone are willing to delay their decision should restrictions continue until the end of April. Building the infrastructure around the circuit is crucial with Pringle noting that 12 weeks was required to do so.
As things stand the first race that can be held this season is the Canadian GP on 14 June, although current restrictions on entry to the country mean that too is unlikely to take place. Organisers have said they will make a decision by Easter weekend (11-12 April).
F1 is still hopeful of finding new dates for cancelled races, targeting a total of 15-18 for the season. On Tuesday the FIA confirmed that the teams have waived their rights to be consulted on the rescheduling of the calendar and agreed that the season could run into January 2021 if necessary. A minimum of eight meetings are required to constitute a world championship.