British GP’s prospects enhanced by new government guidelines

The 2019 British Grand Prix

The prospect of Formula 1 races being held at Silverstone in July has improved off the back of the release of new British government guidelines regarding COVID-19.

F1 is planning to finally start its 2020 season with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 4-5 and potentially another race at the Red Bull Ring on the following weekend.

It is also looking to repeat that pattern at Silverstone on the last two weekends of the month, with the first of those being the original British Grand Prix date.

The release of a new government document now gives tentative approval to holding races behind closed doors, a measure which Silverstone had already reverted to in a bid to preserve its event for 2020.

The second step of the government strategy allows “cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact.”

That step, laid out in ‘Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’, would not take effect before June 1.

Complicating matters, however, is that the strategy also imposes a 14-day self-isolation requirement for “all international arrivals” to the United Kingdom who are “not on a short list of exemptions”, which will soon come into force.

Whether or not the “biosphere” measures which F1 will take in Austria would allow team and other personnel to be granted exemptions is not clear, and the guidelines do not make and specific stipulations.

F1 has said it is in “ongoing but constructive conversations with the government,” according to the BBC.

Of the championship’s 10 teams, seven have bases in the UK, but a quarantine requirement would render plans for four races in the space of as many weekends across Silverstone and an overseas circuit as unworkable.

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