British Grand Prix to allow 140,000 fans in July

Race takes place just one day before the UK’s planned end of Covid-19 restrictions

Race winner Lewis Hamilton is carried aloft after the 2019 British Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Race winner Lewis Hamilton is carried aloft after the 2019 British Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

 

Next month’s British Grand Prix will take place in front of a capacity 140,000 crowd, Silverstone has confirmed.

The announcement — which follows months of tense discussions between the Government and Silverstone — paves the way for the biggest UK crowd since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The grand prix takes place just one day before the mooted end of coronavirus restrictions in England on July 19 — and Silverstone bosses will be allowed to sell out for the entire July 16th-18th weekend.

A full crowd is anticipated for one of the highlights of the British sporting summer as Lewis Hamilton’s rivalry with Max Verstappen intensifies in the former’s bid for a record-breaking eighth world championship.

The news will come as a major boost to Silverstone chiefs, with managing director Stuart Pringle understood to have stressed to Government officials that the circuit — which staged the first ever Formula One world championship event in 1950 — would go bust if fans were not permitted.

Both last year’s British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone took place behind closed doors.

Silverstone made the case that their 70,000 grandstand seats at the former Royal Air Force base are scattered over 3.5 miles, while the event is not reliant on public transport with the large majority of spectators arriving in cars.

Ticket holders will be asked for either proof of a negative lateral flow test, taken within 48 hours of arriving at Silverstone, or be fully vaccinated, with the second dose 14 days previously.

F1’s first-ever sprint race will also take place at Silverstone on the Saturday of the GP weekend.

“This is something we have all been working towards for months and I cannot wait to welcome a full capacity crowd back to Silverstone this July,” said Pringle.

“Many of our fans rolled their tickets over from 2020 but they are now well-placed to enjoy what is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer.

“My thanks go to the Culture Secretary (Oliver Dowden) and his team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for their tireless efforts on behalf of the sports sector, but also the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and the teams in number 10 and the Cabinet Office for recognising what an amazing, safe opportunity the British Grand Prix offers to show the world how Britain has dragged itself back on track following the fight against the pandemic.”

It was announced earlier this week that more than 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Wimbledon’s Centre Court is also set to be at its full 15,000 capacity for the women’s and men’s singles finals on July 10th and July 11th, while Royal St George’s will admit up to 32,000 spectators a day for The Open.

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