Formula 1’s hopes of racing at Silverstone this season have been given another boost, courtesy of UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
While the intention has long been for F1 to hold a two races in Britain as part of its revised 2020 calendar, concerns have been raised in recent weeks by the British government’s introduction of a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals.
And while those concerns were somewhat assuaged by reports of personal intervention by British prime minister Boris Johnson last week, Mr. Dowden’s statement has been taken as further indication the sport’s personnel will be granted exemptions where necessary.
“Now for more than two months after sport stopped and after round-the-clock discussions with medical experts and professional sports bodies, I’m delighted to announced today that the government has published guidance which allows competitive sport to resume behind closed doors from Monday at the earliest and, crucially, only when it’s safe to do so,” he said in a statement.
“It’s up to each individual sport when to resume competition; they know their sports best.
“But football, tennis, horse racing, Formula 1, cricket, golf, rugby, snooker and others are all set to return to our screens shortly, with horse racing first out of the gate in the North East next week.
“It’s been a huge challenge to get to this point. We’ve taken a forensic, clinician led approach, working with Public Health England and the Department of Health every step along the way.”
While the announcement does not explicitly detail a plan to help Formula 1, the British GP is the only F1 race broadcast on free-to-air TV, which is why Mr. Dowden’s inclusion of the sport among others broadcast FTA has been taken as an informal commitment to making the race happen.
Tentatively scheduled for August 2 and 9, Silverstone is set to host the fourth and fifth races of the 2020 season, although Hockenheim in Germany is still being considered should a last-minute replacement be required.