The organisers of the 2020 British Grand Prix have promised that fans won’t lose out if the event is cancelled because of the global spread of coronavirus.
The race is a regular sell-out every year, with an estimated 141,000 turning out for last year’s Grand Prix. In total, some 351,000 fans made the pilgrimage to Silverstone for the 2019 race weekend, up 11,000 on the year before, making it the best attended event on the calendar.
But this year’s Grand Prix is still in doubt because of the ongoing pandemic crisis which has already seen seven races at the start of the planned season cancelled or postponed, including the ‘crown jewel’ event in Monaco.
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Following the last minute cancellation of Australia, the season opener is tentatively scheduled to be in Azerbaijan on June 7. But many in F1 feel that even this is too optimistic in the circumstances and that racing might not get underway until Austria on July 5 at the earliest.
That would make the British Grand Prix the second event of the disrupted season, which is starting to cut things a little fine and leave organisers drawing up contingency plans in case the race has to be pushed back.
“We cannot predict what the situation will be by the time we get to the summer months,” Silverstone’s managing director of the Silverstone Stuart Pringle told the Daily Mail newspaper.
“I promise you that everyone at Silverstone is doing everything they can to ensure we run F1 and MotoGP on their planned dates in July and August,” he added.
“But should we be forced to cancel either, all customers who have a ticket will be given the option of a full refund.”
Organisers of June’s French Grand Prix this week also made a similar pledge to give ticket holders a full refund in the event of cancellation.
While both events are currently still officially ‘on’, all F1 race organisers are anxiously awaiting developments on the coronavirus situation.
Currently the UK has shut down large public gatherings including sporting events, and indefinitely closed schools, pubs, clubs, cinemas and theatres across the country in an effort to stop or slow the spread of the virus.
In the world of motorsport, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been postponed until September, while Formula E, IndyCar and NASCAR are all currently suspended. Additionally, the MotoGP motorcycling world championship has cancelled the first two races of its season in Qatar and Thailand.
The Euro 2020 football championship has been deferred a year, while snooker’s world championship due to take place in April has also been put on hiatus.
Tennis, athletics, boxing, cricket, rugby, horse racing, cycling and golf have also postponed forthcoming major international events, while marathons in Paris and London are also not going ahead for the foreseeable future.
The only big sporting event not to announce any changes to its calendar is the 2020 Olympic Games due to take place in Japan this summer.
“The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement, absolutely not at all,’ said Japan’s Olymp[ic minister Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, at a news conference in Tokyo.
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