What does UK Lockdown Exit Strategy mean for F1?

Following the announcement that various sports can resume in the United Kingdom from 1 June, we take a look at what the exit strategy means for Formula One (F1) and in particular, the British Grand Prix. 

With seven teams based in the UK, F1 is currently facing a tricky logistical challenge in how to get the season up and running, whilst the UK enters the lockdown exit strategy of lockdown as the world battles lockdown at variously different stages.

We therefore are here to provide a full roundup of everything that you need to know in regards to F1 and British Grand Prix as things currently stand.


When does F1 season start?


F1 CEO, Chase Carey has confirmed that the sport is “increasingly confident” with plans to commence the season in Austria across the race’s initially scheduled weekend of 3-5 July. 

Rumours however abound that we could have an Austrian double header with another race held across the following weekend, in order to bank two of the required eight races across three continents needed for this season to be an official championship. 

Should Austria been confirmed as not going ahead ahead of the revised calendar unveiling, it is theoretically possible that the season could therefore start with British GP on 19 July. 


Effects of UK imposed Self-Isolation Rules on Teams

With UK government ruling that air travellers must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, F1 have entered talks in regards to how the ruling will affect F1 teams travelling in and out of the UK once the season starts. 

If a solution isn’t found then it could lead to plans for a crammed season being derailed, due to need for the seven UK based teams to self isolate whenever they re-enter the country following a race weekend. 

Ferrari and Alpha Tauri would meanwhile follow Italy’s rules on re-entry to their bases, whilst likewise for Alfa Romeo when they return to their HQ in Switzerland. 

In regards to the British GP, it could theoretically be delayed until early August if all teams must self-isolate upon arrival into UK assuming that they fly across straight after the second Austrian race on 12 July once finished and packed up equipment.

F1 however are reportedly planning to operate within a ‘biosphere’ environment with rigorous testing for Coronavirus pre-travel and then every two days once at the circuit, which might be enough to gain permission from UK Government for teams to be exempt depending on talks. 


Will British Grand Prix Go Ahead with Fans?

Hamilton Six
Lewis Hamilton could go for a seventh home victory this summer, albeit without fans present for the first time in the British Grand Prix’s history. (Image Credit: LAT Images)

No is the simple answer because Silverstone organisers have confirmed that the event will go ahead without spectators, with Silverstone CEO Stuart Pringle expressing disappointment that the British GP can’t be staged “in front of the fans at Silverstone,”

Tickets however can be transferred to next season’s British GP although thousands of tickets for the event in 2021 will be distributed to the NHS, as a way of saying thank you for their hard work throughout this pandemic. 


Can British GP Go Ahead At All?

Yes because the UK Government’s lockdown exit strategy allows ‘cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast, while avoiding the risks of large-scale social contact.’ 

It therefore means that because no spectators will be in attendance this year, the race weekend can go ahead because it will be broadcast live on Channel Four and Sky Sports. per terms of their contract

Fresh doubts over the race have however emerged with marshals thought to consider the race an “unnecessary burden” on the health system, in event of an accident which requires at least one driver needing medical attention in hospital and some marshals also work within the NHS as their day job. 

Motorsport UK have however iterated that they’re in discussions with Silverstone, F1 and British Government concerning issues (on-site accommodation, food & etc.) that could impact upon the ability of marshals to marshal the event. 

Throw in the travel restrictions concerning self-isolation upon arrival in the UK then the main issue is the date of the race, assuming that the concerns of marshals plus possibility of testing are resolved adequately for them to take up their posts throughout the race weekend.

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