The fate of this year’s British Grand Prix and the timing of Formula 1’s return to racing in general are expected to be decided by the end of this week.
The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is awaiting a decision on whether certain sports will benefit from exemptions from government plans to impose a 14-day quarantine on entry into the UK. He expects a decision in the coming days. DCMS argues in favor of the exemption from F1 for free travel, subject to specific requirements.
F1 plans to open the season on July 5 with two consecutive weekend races in Austria, followed by a double header at Silverstone with matches on July 26 and August 2. Seven of the 10 F1 teams are based in the UK – if quarantine restrictions were imposed, this would make the British GP untenable and plan a difficult schedule.
The government takes advice from a ministerial group and scientific advisers. A DCMS spokesperson said no decision has yet been made but will likely be announced before the end of this week. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has also been confirmed to support the F1 exemption.
With the decision imminent, F1 made its position clear on Tuesday. “If all of elite sport is to return to television, exemptions must be made,” said a spokesperson. “Forty-fourteen days would make it impossible to hold a British Grand Prix this year. In addition, it has a major impact on tens of thousands of jobs related to F1 and supply chains. “
The intention of F1 is to create a closed biosphere for racing staff. All participants would be tested for the coronavirus before leaving, then every three days during the meeting, while trying to achieve the minimum of interaction with local communities.
It is believed that the government does not favor the granting of exemptions for sport for fear that it will face similar demands from other sectors. If the quarantine is imposed, it is understood that F1 will seek to organize two races at Hockenheim in Germany to replace the double head at Silverstone and immediately after Austria, before the teams return to the United Kingdom and enter quarantine.
If restrictions remain in place, travel to other European meetings would be made just as complex by two-week break periods.