Silverstone's hopes hit by no exemption ruling

23/05/2020
NEWS STORY

The British government's decision not to exempt sport from the forthcoming quarantine ruling all but kills off Silverstone's hopes of hosting a round of the Formula One World Championship this year.

Despite claims by some within the sport and sections of the media, Formula One will not be exempt when the British government introduces a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals in the UK from 8 June.

It was expected that there would be exemptions to the rule including some businesses and sport, however confirming the introduction of the quarantine rule yesterday, Home Secretary, Priti Patel said that only road hauliers, seasonal agricultural workers and medical officials will be exempt.

We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave,” she said at the daily press conference.

It is unclear how long the quarantine rule will remain in place but it will be reviewed every three weeks. While this means that the first review will come at the end of June, even if the quarantine were to be scrapped at that point it would be too late for Silverstone which already needs to be ramping up for the event(s).

Having initially welcomed the fact that his circuit looked likely to host back-to-back races, over the days that followed, Silverstone MD, Stuart Pringle was seen to back-peddle furiously as it became clear that any race could only go ahead with the government's approval. Indeed, exemption or no exemption, the terms and conditions always made the event look less likely to happen.

"We have been working closely with government on the implications of the policy for Formula 1 and Silverstone and those discussions are ongoing at this time with the aim of finding a solution with safety as our first priority," said an F1 spokesman, while Pringle insisted that he remains "optimistic".

"I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by government,” he told Sky. “I remain very optimistic that they will find a way.

"I'm very, very conscious that it's extremely complicated drafting these things and working up against ever-moving deadlines," he added, "it's not a task I'd wish to undertake.

"So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found."

As previously reported, Hockenheim, which was not part of the original 2020 schedule, is looking to take Silverstone's slot should the Northamptonshire track get the red flag.

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Published: 23/05/2020
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