Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2019

Silverstone to welcome full crowd for British Grand Prix

2021 British Grand Prix

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The British Grand Prix will be held before a full crowd of fans, Formula 1 has confirmed, following a dispensation from the national government.

The weekend, which will take place from July 16th-18th, has been included as part of the British government Event Research Programme which is being conducted to determine how large-capacity events can be safely held as pandemic restrictions are eased.

All attendees to the race will have to prove they have received a second dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their arrival at the event or return a negative lateral flow test within 48 hours of attendance.

Silverstone held two rounds of the world championship last year, both of which were held behind closed doors

Silverstone’s managing director Stuart Pringle said the announcement was “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.”

Formula 1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “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 ever Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday.”

Around 140,000 fans were present at the 2019 British Grand Prix, which was won by Lewis Hamilton.

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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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39 comments on “Silverstone to welcome full crowd for British Grand Prix”

  1. I have a bad feeling about this. I hope everything is a success and everyone stays well – I’m just not confident of that being the case.

    1. @alianora-la-canta I’m not pessimistic, or at least not as pessimistic as you.

    2. Indeed. This, and reading about how they increased capacity for the Wembley football finale while at the same time reading about new surges in Covid cases mostly with the more virulent Delta variation does not make me feel confident at all that all will end well.

      I am already starting to see this going exactly the same way as last year, when we all hoped that it was over after the summer. We do have a somewhat better situation because a decent proportion of people has had at least a first shot, but then these new strains seem to be partly resistant against the vaccines, especially the AZ one.

      1. I’d say its a bit more than a somewhat better situation. nearly 85% of adults have now had at least one dose of the vaccination. By the time of the GP that will be almost 100% with second doses around 80%. If that isnt enough to stave this virus off then nothing will work.

    3. I have a bad feeling about this.

      Silverstone or Tatooine?

      1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
        3rd July 2021, 9:59

        Silverstone, but that is funny!

  2. Roll on third wave…

    1. Arent cases already going up in GB(though with reduced hospitalisations and deaths)? From 1st hand experience the new Delta variant can have some really bad after effects even in case of mild infections.

      1. They are, at a fair old rate too. I don’t live in the UK though but I’m following the situation closely as my family does.

        1. Please tell them to take extra care and stay safe even if they are vaccinated. This whole situation with mutations is getting out of hand.

    2. Isn’t it already the 4th wave that is starting to build now @geemac, @chaitanya? Regardless, yeah, I fear we will see another autumn with at least partial lockdowns, travel restrictions and masks in the best cases.

      1. We will see more waves, but restrictions will drive a big hole in Rishi’s spending adn tax plans, and thus encourage what can only be described as complete economic collapse, if we’re not there already. I can’t stress enough the danger we are in economically. People wave around the word lockdown like it is just a bit of time spent indoor. The economic damage is frightening. We’ve seen the first reversal in the decrease of extreme poverty globally since 1997. We have yet to fully understand what we’ve done. We can’t do it again.

        It’s either live with the virus and forget about it, or basically live with endemic poverty (and all the horrific things that brings).

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          24th June 2021, 14:32

          Trouble is, it’s all about balance. If you lockdown at the right time and apply the correct rules at the right time, you can avoid further lockdowns. In the UK, we have always been too slow to make decisions and have relied on “advice” too much rather than strict rules.

          The end result is the lockdowns have been longer and less successful then they should have been which ultimately costs everyone even more money. It’s a scary time for the anti-vaxers now though… It seems like the overall plan is to ignore the rapidly rising cases on the basis that people have been vaccinated so they should be alright.

          1. As @petebaldwin mentions, it is important to act timely with putting restrictions in place exactly to avoid endless protractions later due to the epidemic having spread too far to be contained.

            The countries that managed to close down, and put in place restrictions in time, and largely refrained from lifting them prematurely, where then able to get the economy back up and running faster than countries like the UK, or much of western Europe and the US (or eastern Europe who thought they had it right after the first wave but then largely missed preventing the second and next waves).

        2. Alan Dove, bit late for that. The UK decided to live with endemic poverty when it failed to lock down hard and fast for the first two waves (given many years of underfunding for poverty alleviation measures) and to unlock from the first one too early. All we’re deciding now is how severe that endemic poverty is.

      2. in India we are just recovering from 2nd wave(we had quite odd spikes with cases peaking in midsummer this time around) and the way state governments have handled rise in cases. people are also getting quite irritable with all the restrictions. Rate at which new mutants are being reported, it seems we are in for a bad year once again.

      3. @bascb Where I live masks are compulsory indoors and outdoors, honestly it is second nature to wear them now. Other than that it is pretty much business as usual here: the malls are jam packed in the evenings, schools have been open, I’m working in the office again. New cases remain steady and vaccination rates are incredibly high. It’s been like this for over 9 months too.

        This is an endemic now, we just have to live with it and make the best of things. I wish the UK would take that view as well instead of chasing the seemingly impossible dream (at least for the moment) of “going back to normal”…

        1. Over where I live they are currently considering lifting mask (FFP2 minimum) wearing in public transport and inside (it was let go for outside a month or so ago) @geemac. I hope the news of the next wave being up and coming helps keep them in place, but since there are elections coming in the autumn, not much hopeful we won’t see the same thing we got last year.

          I do get the impression that the combination of reading about this Delta variant and the wish to be able to travel for holidays finally gets the large portion of vaccine holdouts amongst middle aged and younger people to get a jab too (today I got my second shot, and I saw many people there, hopefully going the right way), but we are still not even at half of the population having had at least their first shots over here.

          Far too many people here are ignoring mask wearing (or have “hacks” that mean the masks are more or less useless) inside, but on the other hand, it does seem a decent part of the people at least keep a bit more distance.

  3. From a continental-Europe perspective, I am really worried about the post-Silverstone F1 season. There may be many cancellations in Europe, America & likely Asia because of the new outbreak of COVID in UK. Germany for example already has limitations (quarantine) for people coming from Britain & given the increasing harmonisation of COVID-related travel restrictions amongst the EU member state, more European countries could follow the suite.

    This of course doesnt take into account the countries that have problems on their own & are likely to withdraw from the calendar regardless of the development in UK (esp. Japan, Vietnam, Brasil, Mexico).

    We could be beyond half-way season at this point.

    1. Well, with the whole football European Championship travelling through Europe right now, I think we will see that Delta variant nicely mix through all our populations. And given that overall it is still only about 40% or sometimes less fully vaccinated, I fear you are right about the prospects of the second half of the season there.

    2. @Kotrba Firstly, Vietnam isn’t even on the race calendar.
      I’m not worried about the post-Silverstone European events (Hungary, Belgium, NL, Italy) for now.
      Brazil will eventually get cancelled, as will likely Japan (especially since MotoGP’s Motegi event got called off yesterday) and Australia.
      Yes, Mexico too, but I’m less worried.
      Even Abu Dhabi unless UAE gets removed from UK’s red list in time for December.

      1. Mexico ‘might’ too.

    3. Be positive. In the UK we have proven that the link between infections and deaths has been largely broken with the vaccine. It won’t be so much a wave as a ripple.

  4. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    24th June 2021, 13:10

    Great news. Very excited, must admit when I bought my tickets I had zero expectation of it actually going ahead at capacity.

    1. @rdotquestionmark At first blush I was shocked to hear of the full capacity crowd but I am relieved to hear you will all have to have proof of your second shot by 14 days prior. Still surprising to me but more understandable when I see that this will have some Government oversight. Enjoy. I’m sure you will.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        24th June 2021, 19:44

        Yeah life is for living @robbie. Death rates incredibly low so as long as it’s done sensibly it makes sense.

  5. I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I feel like it’s pretty positive. For all the major failings in the UK’s COVID response, the vaccination programme has been very successful and by the time of the British GP, the majority of attendees may have had both doses. Plus, other mass participation events have gone ahead as tests, and so far the data suggests that they don’t tend towards higher levels of spread.

    On the other hand, there’s a difference with the GP in that it’s a whole weekend event not just a few hours; that comes with lots of travel, hotels, using local shops and other infrastructure. While the event itself might be possible to control, and being outside is less likely to be a risk, it does produce myriad other opportunities for spread. What’s most worrying though is the way that case numbers are currently on the rise at an exponential rate, under the current restrictions and in spite of where we are with vaccinations. There’s good evidence that those who have been vaccinated can still contract, carry, and spread the virus, and those who have only had one dose are still quite vulnerable from the worst effects of the Delta variant. Although there is evidence to suggest that the case numbers now are translating into far fewer hospitalisations than you’d have seen prior to the vaccination programme, the levels of hospitalisation have increased with cases suggesting that the link has not been entirely broken. And remember that while the vaccine is now being offered to all over-18s, a significant number of attendees at any GP are below this age bracket.

    It’s curious to see plans pushing ahead right now as if there were still very low rates of infection and transmission. The talk is still around how we’ll be in a good position to fully ‘unlock’ (i.e. remove the last of the social distancing rules etc) before the end of July, and this is while case numbers are soaring and hospitals are filling up again with severely ill patients. It’s hard to see what the evidence is in the data that we are somehow through the worst of it. The recurrent theme from the past 18 months has been that as soon as restrictions are eased and people mix, case rates increase. The greater number of cases among the population, and the greater the rate of spread, the greater the risk that a new variant may appear which will be resistant to the vaccination.

    I sorely want to return to normal at this point. After working at home for a year and a half, spending much of that time separated from friends and family, I desperately want to return to a world where I work in an office surrounded by colleagues, and I can go out for drinks with my friends without any thoughts about masks or restrictions on how we move around. But with my sensible hat on, my data analyst hat, I feel very wary about this.

    1. @mazdachris Yeah well said. Just to clarify something from your first paragraph, the attendees at the race will have to have proof of two vaccinations from 14 days prior to the event, so there is no ‘the majority of attendees may have had both doses’ about it. They will have to have had them, and proof of that.

      1. @robbie That’ll teach me for skim reading before shooting off a reply.

        That’s interesting though. So for reference I’m 38 and I had my first vaccine shot at the earliest point I was able to book it. I won’t be able to have my second shot until August. Looking at the timescales then, unless you’ve managed to get two jabs as a result of being in an at-risk group, this event is going to be attended almost exclusively by the over 40s.

        It’s an example I think of the inherent unfairness of using vaccinated status as a qualifier for freedoms, when there is a significant chunk of society who haven’t had the opportunity to have both jabs and are consequently going to be excluded from freedoms through no fault of their own.

        1. the inherent unfairness of using vaccinated status as a qualifier for freedoms

          The alternative is either that everyone stays put until the very last person has received their shots, or that everyone is allowed the same freedoms regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.

          Are those options more appealing?

          On the other hand, having had the second shot seems to be an unnecessarily strict requirement. Apparently, something like 80-90% protection is achieved a couple of weeks after the first shot, so why not make this the minimum requirement for at least outdoor events?

          1. RandomMallard (@)
            24th June 2021, 20:54

            asz The other alternative is what the government have chosen to do, which is provide proof of a negative lateral flow test taken less than 48 hours before arrival. Also the second shot is very much necessary at the moment here in the UK, where the Delta variant makes up about 90%+ of all new cases, and the vaccine is said to be only 35-40% effective against that after 1 dose.

      2. Just to work that out a bit more precisely; assuming you don’t fall into one of the higher priority groups:

        The British GP weekend starts on the 16th of July. So your second jab would have to have been by the 2nd of July at the latest.

        If your second jab was on the 2nd, going by the 11 week minimum mandatory gap between doses, your first dose would, at the latest, have been on the 16th of April.

        The vaccine, at the time of the 16th of April, was only being offered to people aged 45 and over. And even that is a little misleading, because those people were only able to book from the 13th of April. It’s unlikely that you became elligible on the 13th and then had your first jab three days later – my experience, booking as soon as I was able (literally logged on at 7am on the day I was first able to), it was nearly two weeks before I could get an appointment.

        So, realistically, barring being vaccinated early due to being in an at-risk group, or any other pilot such as walk-ins which allowed the second dose to be delivered after week 8, the youngest cohort which should all be able to attend would be the over 50s. Some over 45s might scrape in if they got in early. Under 40s have basically no hope.

        1. RandomMallard (@)
          24th June 2021, 16:25

          @mazdachris If you haven’t yet had both vaccines, it is also open to people who can show proof of a negative lateral flow test within 48 hours of arriving at the circuit.

        2. RandomMallard (@)
          24th June 2021, 16:26

          This has been the government’s policy for the Event’s Research Program for quite a while now.

      3. RandomMallard (@)
        24th June 2021, 16:24

        @robbie This isn’t quite the case. Not everyone will have been offered a vaccine by that point (under 18s mainly, but a few over-18s as well who got unlucky with booking), and nowhere near everyone will have had a second dose more than 14 days beforehand. However, if you don’t have proof of double vaccination, you need proof of a negative lateral flow test no with the last 48 hours before entering the circuit. This has been the UK Government’s policy for the Events Research Program for a while now.

        1. @randommallard Ok interesting.

          asz I think your info is outdated. From what I understand if you only have one shot of AstraZeneca you are only 30% protected from the Delta variant. It has never been more crucial than ever to get the second shot and as complete protection as possible as variants emerge and take hold. As well, the Delta variant or now Delta plus, are certainly not the end of the variants.

          1. Lol sitting waiting for my second shot as we speak. First shot AZ but this one will be Pfizer.

      4. @robbie Actually, a recent negative test result is also accepted.

  6. It’s not appropriate. This speaking from a family who is unable to visit my wife’s sick mother in Germany at the moment as she needs to quarantine for 14 days in Berlin even before travelling to Dresden. I find all these people travelling for the Euros difficult to swallow, and the fact our dumb leader didn’t put India on the red list until too late. Now 140000 people mingling at Silverstone? I want things to go back to normal just as much as everyone else but this is just plain wrong.

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