Start, Silverstone, 2019

British GP postponement likely but Silverstone will survive, says Warwick

2020 British Grand Prix

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The British Grand Prix is likely to be postponed from its mid-July date, former British Racing Drivers’ Club president Derek Warwick has told RaceFans.

However he believes Silverstone is in much better shape to survive the financial today hit than it was a few years ago.

“As a BRDC member I can only have praise for the board and for [Silverstone managing director] Stuart Pringle who has done an amazing job this last five, 10 years,” Warwick told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “When I was on the board and also as president I very much admired the people I was working with.”

After Warwick’s six-year presidency ended in 2017 the veteran of 146 Formula 1 races became a vice-president of the BRDC. He expects the restrictions due to the pandemic will force the race organisers to delay this year’s British Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place on July 19th.

“It’s going to be tough for Silverstone if we cancel,” said Warwick. “And you have to say that we’re not looking like we’re going to be on top of this thing by the middle of July, so it will for sure, I think, be postponed hopefully for a later date.”

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The Wimbledon tennis tournament, which was due to be held from June 29th to July 13th, has already been called off. Unlike Silverstone, it had taken out insurance against disruption due to a pandemic, and is reported to be receiving a nine-figure payout as a result.

Warwick said Silverstone does not have similar cover for its event. “It’s going to hurt them financially,” he said. “They’re not insured for this virus, that’s for sure. So there will be a loss. How big that loss is I have no idea.”

Last year Silverstone agreed a new deal with F1’s commercial rights holder Libery Media to continue holding the British Grand Prix. It had activated an exit clause in its previous deal, which it signed while Liberty’s predecessors CVC were in charge of the sport.

The club is now in a much better position to survive the financial hit which would come as a result of a postponement, Warwick told RaceFans.

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“If this had happened – probably five years ago but certainly 10 years ago – could the club have handled it then? No. Has the club come a long way in the last five years? Absolutely.

“It’s actually got cash in the bank and it can do a good job. But you wouldn’t want this to go on too long. And if we can run the grand prix at a later date, we will get a lot of money back that otherwise, we’d have lost, I suspect.”

Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has admitted the series is considering whether races will have to be held behind closed doors this year. Warwick said the best-case scenario for Silverstone would be to hold a postponed race with a full crowd later in the year.

“Whether that’s going to be possible, I have a big question mark,” he said. “If we run it without spectators, I’m sure that the board and Stuart Pringle are already speaking to Formula 1 on whatever the current financial situation is.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “British GP postponement likely but Silverstone will survive, says Warwick”

  1. And you have to say that we’re not looking like we’re going to be on top of this thing by the middle of July, so it will for sure, I think, be postponed hopefully for a later date.

    I suspect most people aren’t expecting us to have a vaccine for the virus this year. That leaves creating an environment that inhibits its ability to spread, part of which is social distancing and avoiding large crowds.

  2. But how likely? Should Silverstone lose its original slot, that’d most likely lead to the same outcome also for Circuit Paul Ricard and Red Bull Ring as both are scheduled before Silverstone.

  3. I’ve got a 4 day camping ticket as well as f1 ticket… I don’t mind a postponement but not in a cold winter mobth please

    1. You might get the cold shoulder too.

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