The British Grand Prix’s plans for a sell-out crowd of 140,000 spectators looks to have been scuppered by the British government’s decision to extend lockdown restrictions for another four weeks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that England’s plans to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions on June 21 would now not go ahead, instead opting to delay this by four weeks to July 19.
It comes as cases begin to rise along with hospitalisations – albeit slowly – thanks to the ‘Delta’ variant, despite a vaccine programme that is well ahead of most other countries.
The British Formula 1 race at Silverstone is set for July 18 and therefore just falls within the new easing date of July 19, putting the hopes of hosting a bumper 140,000 fans at risk.
Under current rules, outdoor events are capped at 10,000 people or 25 percent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower.
However the race may still get permission to host a far larger crowd as it will form part of the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP), which is a trial to better understand transmission rates at certain events, both indoor and outdoor.
Other such events have included the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium and The BRIT Awards, both of which hosted much larger crowds than current restrictions allow, although they certainly weren’t at capacity.
The British GP and Wimbledon have joined the ERP’s phase two trials, though discussions on just how many spectators will be permitted remain under discussion.
It’s believed organisers, Formula 1 and the British government are holding detailed discussions on this to ensure the race can welcome a large crowd, given the scale of the ‘arena’, which is obviously far larger than any stadium, potentially giving hope that the government will green light a sell-out crowd.