British GP to take place in front of capacity crowd
Silverstone has announced that next month’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix will go ahead in front of a capacity crowd.
Despite a delay in lifting COVID-19 restrictions in the UK until 19 July, F1 officials remained confident of a bumper Silverstone crowd after talks over including the race in the government's Event Research Programme.
The programme will see large crowds attend the upcoming Euro 2020 games at Wembley, as well as the Wimbledon tennis tournament in London.
In a statement released on Thursday, Silverstone confirmed that it had been included in the Event Research Programme and that it would be able to welcome all ticket holders to the race.
"The Silverstone team will now work closely with the ERP experts and particularly the Director of Public Health in Northamptonshire on the specific conditions of entry that will enable the event to operate safely and will be announcing these details to ticket holders in the coming days," a statement reads.
Silverstone hosted two F1 races behind closed doors last year, but will now welcome back a capacity crowd - the first for F1 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – of up to 140,000 on race day.
F1 organisers have already confirmed that fans attending must complete a lateral flow test within 48 hours before first arriving at Silverstone or have received both of their COVID-19 vaccinations.
"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 Silverstone managing director Stuart 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 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, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and the teams in No.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."
"I'm pleased that Silverstone will be able to welcome fans back to their large outdoor site for the pinnacle of British motorsport," said culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
"Through our successful vaccine rollout and ambitious Events Research Programme we are continuing to make progress, and events like this will pave the way for everyone to enjoy live sport and culture together safely once more."
F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali called it "fantastic news", with Silverstone set to host the first sprint race in the series' history as part of a shake-up of the weekend format.
"It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first ever sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday," said Domenicali.
"I want to express my huge appreciation to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Secretaries of State, Oliver Dowden and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Silverstone's Managing Director, Stuart Pringle for their tireless work to achieve this great outcome.
"All of the drivers and the teams are hugely looking forward to Silverstone and we can't wait to be there in July."
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