This year’s British Grand Prix will be held with a full-capacity crowd on 18 July, after the Silverstone-based event was included in the UK government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).
Event organisers had been seeking clarity from the government after the delay in the final easing of coronavirus restrictions. Silverstone has said ‘full capacity’ means the same attendance levels as in 2019, so up to 140,000 fans will be present on race day. Last year’s event took place without fans.
The ERP has staged a number of scientific studies at a range of test events to assess the impact of mass gatherings on Covid-19 and ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. The FA Cup final and various Euro 2020 matches have been run with the cooperation of the ERP, along with events such as Royal Ascot and the Download music festival.
Silverstone is currently working with ERP members and the director of Public Health in Northampton on the specific conditions of entry for the event, which, it says, will be communicated to ticket holders shortly. It has confirmed that ticket holders will be required to provide proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours before attending or proof of full vaccination.
Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle said: “This is something we have all been working towards for months and I cannot wait to welcome a full-capacity crowd back to Silverstone this July. Many of our fans rolled their tickets over from 2020 but they are now well placed to enjoy what is sure to be one of the highlights of the summer.”
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I’m pleased that Silverstone will be able to welcome fans back to their large outdoor site for the pinnacle of British motorsport. Through our successful vaccine rollout and ambitious Events Research Programme, we are continuing to make progress and events like this will pave the way for everyone to enjoy live sport and culture together safely once more.”
Opening the event to 140,000 fans is likely to make the British GP the largest mass event held in the UK since the beginning of the pandemic. It will be close to the number who attended this year’s Indianapolis 500, which is the largest event held so far in the US, where coronavirus restrictions have been eased more substantially.
The Euro 2020 semi-finals and final are due to be held at Wembley Stadium in front of 60,000 fans. The size of the Silverstone circuit will have been key to securing permission for such a large gathering.
This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will also take place at full capacity after becoming part of the ERP.