British GP: Silverstone open to hosting two F1 races without fans

Silverstone would be willing to host an unprecedented two successive grands prix without spectators to help Formula 1 fight back from the coronavirus crisis, according to circuit boss Stuart Pringle.

The season has yet to start but the Liberty Media-owned sport’s management are hoping to get going in the European summer with a revised and reduced schedule that could run into next year.

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Pringle told the Guardian newspaper that he had discussed “all sorts of permutations” with Formula 1, including two races over the same weekend or consecutive weekends at the British track.

No circuit has ever hosted two races in succession in the same season.

“I have complete confidence in our ability to put on these events. We have a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge, we can turn that on definitely,” said Pringle.

Discussions between F1, the 10 teams and the FIA last week centred on when and how the season could get underway, with the prospect of all European races taking place behind closed doors raised.

“We have been asked could we hold a race or two and could they be behind closed doors,” added Pringle, whose circuit drew the biggest crowd of any last year and is a short drive from seven of the 10 teams’ headquarters.

“The answer is absolutely, we are open to looking into anything and everything.”

While some countries are starting to ease strict lockdown conditions imposed to tackle the coronavirus crisis, events involving large crowds of people are likely to remain banned for some time.

Official guidance in Britain is for people to stay at home and to practice social distancing if they do have to go outside.

Every race on the original F1 calendar has been cancelled or called off up to the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet on June 28, but that is also expected to be postponed.

That would leave Austria on July 5, at a circuit owned by energy drink Red Bull who have two F1 teams, two weeks before the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Silverstone also hosted the first world championship grand prix in 1950.

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