Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle has raised the possibility of a second Formula One race taking place on British soil later this year.
A record-breaking crowd of more than 140,000 spectators will watch next Sunday’s British Grand Prix after the government provided the green light for circuit organisers to sell out for the entire July 16-18 weekend.
In an interview with the PA news agency, managing director Pringle confirmed the event is set to be at capacity for all three days, paving the way for the largest UK crowd of the Covid-19 era.
The second half of the F1 schedule is uncertain. Earlier this week, November’s Australian Grand Prix was cancelled while the rounds in Japan, Mexico and Brazil are all in doubt.
The latter of the trio is on the government’s red list. Turkey, due to stage a race at Istanbul Park on October 3, and the United Arab Emirates – with Abu Dhabi hosting the final round on December 12 – are also both red-list countries.
“If we can help by having a race later in the season then we would be delighted to assist,” said Pringle.
“Formula One deserves remarkable credit that they completed 17 races last year – the only global sport to have achieved such a feat – and I hope they can complete the calendar again.
“We have not been asked, and it is not a conversation that I have prompted, but if us hosting another race gets the championship to a sensible level, then of course we will help.”
Ticket holders for next week’s race – the 10th of a scheduled 23 – will have to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test or be fully vaccinated.
Silverstone staged the first F1 world championship event, but both last year’s British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix took place behind closed doors.
During months of tense negotiations, Pringle stressed to Government officials that the circuit would have gone under if fans were kept out of this month’s race.
Pringle added: “It is absolutely fair to say that, and it was a very strong motivating factor for us. Coming off second really was not an option for us.
“We are far from alone in being an events business which is not capable in surviving two full summer seasons without paying spectators, and for Silverstone that has to include the British Grand Prix because it is by far our biggest event.
“It had to happen or the country was at risk of losing one of its important national sporting assets.
“The Government recognised the opportunity that a British Grand Prix running in front of a full house presented. There will be one hundred millions eyes around the world on Silverstone next weekend and it will show Britain off at its absolute best.”
Lewis Hamilton, who has won the British Grand Prix more times than any other driver in the sport’s history, will head to his home race 32 points adrift of championship rival Max Verstappen.