British Grand Prix allowed to have crowd of 140,000

Following talks between the government and Silverstone chiefs, the race will be watched by the biggest sporting crowd in Britain since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

FILE: Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (R) crosses the line to win the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone motor racing circuit in Silverstone, central England, on 14 July 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - The British Grand Prix in July will take place in front of a capacity 140,000 crowd, Silverstone officials announced on Thursday.

Following talks between the government and Silverstone chiefs, the race will be watched by the biggest sporting crowd in Britain since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The British Grand Prix takes place on July 18 and Silverstone bosses will be allowed to sell out for the entire weekend of qualifying and the race itself.

The news is a major boost to Silverstone chiefs, with managing director Stuart Pringle understood to have stressed to Government officials that the circuit would go bust if fans were not permitted.

"It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first event Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday," said Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali.

"I want to express my huge appreciation to The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Secretaries of State, Oliver Dowden and Michael Gove and Silverstone Managing Director, Stuart Pringle for their tireless work to achieve this great outcome. All of the drivers and the teams are hugely looking forward to Silverstone and we can't wait to be there in July."

Both last year's British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone took place behind closed doors.

Silverstone made the case that their 70,000 grandstand seats at the former Royal Air Force base are scattered over 3.5 miles, while the event is not reliant on public transport with the large majority of spectators arriving in cars.

Ticket holders will be asked for either proof of a negative lateral flow test, taken within 48 hours of arriving at Silverstone, or be fully vaccinated.

"My thanks go to the Culture Secretary and his team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for their tireless efforts on behalf of the sports sector, but also the Prime Minister, Michael Gove and the teams in No.10 and the Cabinet Office for recognising what an amazing, safe opportunity the British Grand Prix offers to show the world how Britain has dragged itself back on track following the fight against the pandemic," Pringle said.

It was announced earlier this week that more than 60,000 fans will be allowed to attend the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Wimbledon's Centre Court is also set to be at its full 15,000 capacity for the women's and men's singles finals on July 10 and July 11, while Royal St George's will admit up to 32,000 spectators a day for the British Open golf.