F1 season gets the go-ahead but British GP is still in doubt
Formula One bosses are still awaiting the details of the Government’s chaotic quarantine plans before confirming the British Grand Prix will go ahead.
But while the oldest World Championship race remains in doubt, the season is set to start with back-to-back races in Austria on July 5 and 12 after the country’s health ministry yesterday gave the idea its stamp of approval.
The situation in Britain is less clear. It was a positive sign that Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, used the daily briefing to name F1 among a range of sports that would be free to return from tomorrow.
But the proposed system of quarantining travellers coming to Britain for 14 days is the one issue that still needs resolving. The Mail on Sunday understands there is a desire going all the way up to Boris Johnson to find a way of accommodating F1 by allowing the sport’s travelling party of just over 1,000 to arrive in the UK without a long lockdown. Such a restriction would rule out any chance of a British Grand Prix.
But subject to confirmation that is expected in the next few days, F1 hopes to publish its provisional calendar this week.
It will, they hope, start at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on the first two weekends of July, before decamping to Hungary on July 19, three races in as many weeks. There would then be a weekend off before two races at Silverstone on August 2 and 9. Next would be Barcelona on August 16. Then Belgium on August 30 and Italy on September 6.
In all, between 15 and 18 races are planned, ending with Bahrain and Abu Dhabi in December.
All the early races will be behind closed doors, including the potential Silverstone events. If the Northamptonshire venue were ruled out, Germany’s Hockenheim track would step in.
As for Austria, the Government there said F1 had presented, ‘a comprehensive, professional security concept to prevent infections’.
An extensive testing programme and social distancing, plus F1-only flights and hotels, are key components of the restart plan.Daily Mail