Silverstone to host two F1 races in August

Ruben Hill
July 7, 2020

After 10 race cancellations, the sport has settled on its plan for eight meetings, all behind closed doors.

The circuit should have vroomed into life in March at the Australian Grand Prix.

The curtailed Formula One season will start with two races behind closed doors in Austria on July 5 and July 12 followed by six other grands prix in Europe, the organisers said on Tuesday. After a short break, two back-to-back races will be held at Silverstone. Other races confirmed are the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and Belgian Grand Prix, with the Italian Grand Prix at Monza being the last confirmed event on 6 September. Only the British GP will be shown on free-to-air TV in the United Kingdom, on Channel 4. It is expected that 15-18 races will take place before the season is completed in December.

Explaining the reasoning behind F1's decision, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told Sky Sports: "For Formula 1, it's been an incredibly hard task to try and work out where they can go on a timescale that's realistic". "Huge credit to F1, it's been an incredibly hard task to try and work out where they can go on a timescale that is realistic", he said.

"But also to the government that has been hugely supportive about getting sport back underway, the importance to the British public at this time has been fully appreciated, and also the importance to business, to industry". Following the British Grand Prix, the second race at the Northamptonshire track will be called the Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

But Carey told the F1 website: "The array of "what ifs" are too wide to play out every one of them, but a team not being able to race wouldn't cancel the race". Austria has never hosted the opening round of a season.

Eight races is the minimum number required to determine a world champion under the sport's regulations, but F1's owners Liberty Media hope the European calendar is just the beginning as it looks to announce further races in Asia and the Americas, with the goal of staging up to 18 grands prix this year.

"As stated previously we now expect the opening races to be closed events but hope fans will be able to join our events again when it is safe to do so".

"We are pleased to be able to set out our opening eight-race calendar today and look forward to publishing our full calendar in the coming weeks", Formula One chairman Chase Carey said.

Chase Carey, the F1 chief executive, added: "While we expect the season to commence without fans we hope that over the coming months the situation will allow us to welcome them back".

Haas driver Romain Grosjean said: "We're going to go racing". "We encourage teams to have procedures in place to quarantine them at a hotel and to replace that individual ... If a driver has an infection, [the teams have] reserve drivers available".

Carey's remarks echo previous similar statements made by Jean Todt, the president of governing body the FIA, and the FIA's chief medical officer Professor Gerard Saillant.

The last driver to fill in for a team during a season was Sky F1's Paul Di Resta, who replaced the sick Felipe Massa at the 2016 Hungarian GP for Williams.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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