Formula One’s hopes of hosting two races at Silverstone were on Friday dealt a blow as the sport was not handed any exemption to the British government’s plans to introduce a 14-day quarantine period for those entering the country.
The measures are to be introduced from June 8 to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but would be reviewed every three weeks, meaning that an agreement could still be found in time for the two races at Silverstone to go ahead in July.
The sport earlier this week stressed the need for a quarantine exemption by highlighting the effect that the new rules would have on “tens of thousands of jobs linked to F1 and supply chains.”
However, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle is hopeful that an agreement can be reached that allows both races to go ahead.
“I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by the government,” he told Sky Sports. “So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found.”
Seven of the 10 teams on the F1 grid have bases in England.
“This isn’t just 90 minutes of an exciting sporting race. This is about getting an industry back to work,” Pringle added. “This is about 40-plus thousand people’s livelihoods being ignited. The racing is at the very top of the pinnacle. Formula 1 is absolutely the top of the motorsport tree — it’s the bit that we see and it’s the most visible bit, but it’s the stand-bearer for this industry and it’s about getting an industry started again.”
The sports’ organizers are hoping to start the season with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 behind closed doors, followed by a second race at the Red Bull Ring a week later.
It was hoped that Silverstone could then host two races in back-to-back weekends, also behind closed doors.
“We have been working closely with the government on the implications of the policy for Formula 1 and Silverstone, and those discussions are ongoing at this time with the aim of finding a solution, with safety as our first priority,” an F1 spokesman told reporters on Friday.
The quarantine restrictions could also have a major impact on the participation of British sides in European soccer competition.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Rangers are all still involved in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.
UEFA is planning for both competitions to be finished in August, once domestic seasons have been completed.
TEAM COST-CUTTING MEASURES
Formula One’s 10 teams have agreed on cost-cutting measures, including a budget cap of US$145 million for next season, the BBC reported on Friday.
The measures have yet to be officially approved by the governing FIA’s World Motor Sport Council — in an e-vote due to the COVID-19 pandemic — but that is seen as a formality and likely to occur this week.
The US$145 million figure had been agreed on, but the sport would look for further reductions in future seasons, F1 managing director for motorsport Ross Brawn said this month.
The BBC and motorsport.com, citing multiple sources, reported that the teams had agreed to reduce the cap to US$140 million in 2022 and US$135 million for the 2023-2025 period.
The season has yet to start, with the first 10 races postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
A major rewrite of the technical regulations has been delayed until 2022, with teams carrying over this year’s vehicles to next year.
The budget cap, which does not include driver salaries, had initially been set at US$175 million, but some teams wanted a more drastic limit closer to US$100 million to ensure the sport survives the crisis.
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