Silverstone to operate at full capacity for British GP

More than 140,000 spectators could be in attendance for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 18 July after it was announced that the Formula One race would be included in the UK government’s Events Research Programme.

The event, which takes place a day before COVID-19 restrictions are due to lift, hosted a crowd of 141,000 in 2019.

Organisers confirmed that ticket holders will be asked for proof or a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at the race, or proof of full vaccination, with the second dose received at last 14 days to the British Grand Prix.

“It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first ever Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday,” said Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula One.

“I want to express my huge appreciation to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Secretaries of State, Oliver Dowden and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Silverstone’s Managing Director, Stuart Pringle for their tireless work to achieve this great outcome.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said although the decision to allow spectators to attend the British Grand Prix at full capacity felt a ‘premature one’, he was looking forward to the return of motorsport fans.

“The selfish side of me wants to see all these people here,” he said. “I like to err on the side of caution and slowly build up, rather than go full pelt and using our British fans as a test.”

“But I turned on the news this morning and have been watching it these past days and I know that UK rates have increased since people are loosening up a little and not everyone is vaccinated and I do worry about people. But I read that the vaccination is good, there are fewer people in hospital.”

Silverstone will host the largest sporting crowd since the beginning of the pandemic, after it was announced that Wembley would operate at 75% capacity for the final of the 2020 UEFA European Championships, whilst the national stadium could hold 45,000 fans for rugby league’s Challenge Cup final.

Other events in the sporting calendar confirmed to be taking part in the government’s pilot programme include golf’s The Open, which could welcome 32,000 spectators.

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