Lewis Hamilton will have to go in search of even more British Grand Prix glory without his fans roaring him on this year due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Silverstone bosses have been forced to announce the 2020 edition of the iconic F1 meet will take place behind closed doors.
More than 20,000 people have now died in the UK after contracting the deadly COVID-19 virus and that has seen sporting events across the board wiped out.
Silverstone chief Stuart Pringle is optimistic of staging the British Grand Prix this year but he has had to rule out hosting the race with fans in attendance.
“I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year’s British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone,” said Pringle, in a letter to British Grand Prix ticket holders.
“We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a grand prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.
“Our obligations to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in preparing and delivering the event, our volunteer marshals and race makers, and of course, you, the amazing fans, means that this is the best, safest and only decision we could make.”
Hamilton, a six-time winner of the British Grand Prix, has seen the start of his sixth title defence pushed back into the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ten Grands Prix have been called off in total, with F1 chiefs now scrambling to piece together a 2020 calendar of at least 15 races after the French Grand Prix became the latest meet to be cancelled.
Hosting multiple races at Silverstone has been mooted as a possibility and Pringle said talks over staging a crowdless British Grand Prix on July 19 are ongoing.
“We have consistently said that should we find ourselves in this position we will support Formula 1 as they seek to find alternative ways to enable F1 racing to take place this year,” Pringle said.
“Following this weekend’s news from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport we are now working with them on the viability of an event behind closed doors.”
British Grand Prix ticket holders will be able to seek refunds or use their tickets for the race in 2021, while Silverstone have committed to providing tickets to thousands of NHS and key workers for next year’s meet.
The Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 now looks to be the most likely starting point for the 2020 campaign following the cancellation of June 28’s French Grand Prix at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Like Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring might host multiples races to help make up for the loss of the Australian, Chinese, Monaco and French Grands Prix.
Published at Mon, 27 Apr 2020 09:02:00 +0000