Exclusive: Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle speaks in-depth to Sky Sports News about the latest for the British GP, how it could help F1, and efforts to aid the NHS
Thursday 2 April 2020 17:05, UK
Silverstone says it is prepared to help Formula 1 in any way possible once the 2020 season begins, with the prospect of multiple races at the British GP venue not being ruled out.
Silverstone announced on Wednesday that they were giving themselves until the end of April to make a decision on whether the British GP can go ahead as scheduled on July 19.
Although this year's Wimbledon, which was due to finish a week before the British GP, has now been cancelled, Silverstone have explained why they are taking an additional period with F1 to assess the situation amid the coronavirus crisis.
In an interview with Sky Sports News' Craig Slater, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle explained: "There are two reasons. Number one is that Silverstone is one round in a world championship and our colleagues at Formula 1 are trying incredibly hard to piece together a season that will start much later [than planned].
"There have been a number of postponements and one cancellation and they are trying to reknit that calendar together. We are one element of that and it's important that Formula 1 get the chance to try and get a world championship season away.
"We can give them the time we need to do that. That is also because we're a fixed venue. We're not like a street circuit, we've got fixed set-up and infrastructure and we've also got an incredibly experienced team, we know what we're doing, so we can allow ourselves the month of April to make a decision which is sufficient for Formula 1 I hope to get their plans together."
F1 boss Chase Carey said last week that they remained hopeful of holding a season of at least 15 races, with teams having given the commercial rights holders and the FIA the right to make changes to the calendar without a vote.
One idea mooted on the Sky F1 Vodcast this week was that venues such as Silverstone - which seven of F1's 10 teams are located within 80 miles of - could stage more than one race once the campaign is underway when safe to do so.
Put to him that the Northamptonshire venue would be in a good position to help out when racing was ready to resume and mass-gathering events could be held, Pringle said: "All I've done is say to Formula 1 we are willing to work with them in any way, shape or form that they think is in the best interests of the championship.
"The majority of the teams are within a stone's throw of the circuit, so operationally it would be pretty straightforward.
"We've got the fixed infrastructure, the staff could go home to their own beds of an evening in large parts, so if that's how we can help then I'd be delighted to do that."
The British GP is traditionally both the centrepiece of the motorsport summer - and one of the UK's most prestigious annual sporting events.
Silverstone's event is normally held in July, and although the circuit operates all year round, Pringle pointed out: "We could run all the way through but there's a reason we run [F1] in the British summer which is because it's the most civilised time of the year.
"It is no coincidence that Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and The Open golf are sandwiched in a pretty tight window because that's the best chance of decent weather. We'll take the four weeks to review whether our July 19th date is suitable or not."
But could the event still take place in late summer given other events such as County Cricket usually run into late September in the UK with clement weather?
"If you can play cricket, you can have a motor racing event," added Pringle.