The British Grand Prix could still go ahead this year after the U.K. prime minister called on his government to consider making F1’s travelling personnel exempt from the country’s new quarantine rules.
From June 8, new rules in the U.K. will require travellers entering the country to spend two weeks in quarantine — a policy that looked set to scupper F1’s plan to travel from a second race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 12 to set up for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 26.
The new government regulations are aimed at preventing a second wave of coronavirus infections in the U.K. and currently only allow exemptions for freight drivers, medical professionals and seasonal agricultural workers.
However, the rules are set to be reviewed every three weeks, and a report on Monday night in The Times claimed F1 had successfully lobbied U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to raise the issue in a cabinet meeting at the start of the week.
F1 has been considering an alternative venue to follow the opening two rounds in Austria, including Germany’s Hockenheimring and Hungary’s Hungaroring, and still needs firm confirmation from the U.K. government as soon as possible in order to allow the necessary lead time to plan the races and announce a firm schedule of events.
In the event the travel exemption is not granted by the U.K. government in time for a July race, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said he was open to a later date in August.
“I’ve got flexibility in the calendar and of course we’ve got our original dates we’ve been holding and talking around in mid-late July,” Pringle told Sky Sports. “But we’ve got a degree of flexibility through August as well.
“So I don’t think that finding a date for Formula One is going to be a problem, or indeed two dates. What we need is the green light from government and that will take time.”
F1 is planning to launch its 2020 season in Austria on July 5, after the opening 10 rounds of the original 2020 calendar were either cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. A series of races in Europe will follow Austria before the series travels to Asia, the Americas and finally the Middle East.
F1 is planning to publish the European part of its calendar — expected to include the Red Bull Ring, Silverstone, Hungaroring, Circuit de Catalunya, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza — at the start of next month, before mapping out the non-European races at a later date.