British F1 race ‘not a given,’ says Silverstone boss

Formula One plans to start the season with two races behind closed doors in Austria in early July. (Reuters file photo)
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Updated 03 May 2020

British F1 race ‘not a given,’ says Silverstone boss

  • Formula One insiders have spoken of teams staying at secure hotels
  • Any races will need government approval, with countries in various stages of lockdown

LONDON: This year’s British Grand Prix “is not a given” even without spectators and the decision depends on others, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said on Saturday.

Formula One plans to start the season, put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic, with two races behind closed doors in Austria in early July before potentially two more at Silverstone.

Any races will need government approval, with countries in various stages of lockdown with restrictions on movement and mass events.

Silverstone is keen to help the sport back on track but announced this week any race could only go ahead without spectators.

“The end of April (decision deadline) for us was if we had to start putting up temporary infrastructure for hospitality and dealing with the public and stuff,” said Pringle.

“We are only working on fixed infrastructure (now) so it’s an awful lot less.

“I’m confident we could operate well within F1’s decision-making cycle,” he said of any new deadline. 

“I think they are the ones who have got to make the decision.”

Formula One’s managing director Ross Brawn said the sport wanted to create a “kind of biosphere” at circuits.

That would involve getting everyone who entered the circuit tested and cleared for the coronavirus and then keeping them in a controlled environment.

“Austria fits that bill very well. It’s got a local airport right next to the circuit, where people can charter planes into. It’s not too close to a metropolis, it has a great infrastructure around it,” Brawn told an F1 podcast.

“There will be no motorhomes, but there will be a full catering facility laid on that the circuit has.”

 

Home security

Formula One insiders have spoken of teams staying at secure hotels with no interaction with local residents and no media access.

Pringle said Silverstone, a home race for seven of the 10 teams, could offer security.

“In the discussions within sport, about restarting in the UK, there’s been talk about the need for sites to be a bit like an island. To be controlled. We can achieve that,” he said.

“We have all the facilities we need inside the circuit with the exception of a complete hotel. We have a half-built hotel, if that helps anyone.

Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield in central England, has a 222 hectare site with a nearly 8km perimeter fence.

The Wing building is some 400m long and can deliver 4,500 sit down lunches simultaneously with its own kitchens and five separate halls.

“We’d comfortably cater for everybody associated with putting it on,” said Pringle. 

“We could separate people and shifts ... we’re ideally placed.”

Silverstone is already used to teams using the circuit for private testing, away from prying eyes.

Pringle also made clear that everything had to be done so as not to put stress on policing or divert medical resources away from the fight against the coronavirus.

“I’m very clear we cannot be any sort of burden or the slightest impact on that. And if we are this isn’t going to happen,” he said.


Uncapped Robinson in England squad for second Pakistan Test

Updated 12 August 2020

Uncapped Robinson in England squad for second Pakistan Test

  • Robinson has been one of the most impressive bowlers in English domestic cricket in recent years
  • Star all-rounder Ben Stokes will also miss the third Test

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Uncapped Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson was included on Wednesday in England’s 14-man squad for the second Test against Pakistan.
The 26-year-old trained with the squad during the West Indies series and took eight Hampshire wickets during his subsequent appearance in the Bob Willis Trophy — the first-class competition that is replacing the County Championship in a season cut short by the coronavirus.
But whether he makes a Test debut at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl ground on Thursday could depend on how the England attack that played in a three-wicket win in the first of a three-match series recovers from their exertions at Old Trafford last week.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has already been ruled out after playing in Manchester as he gets ready to return to New Zealand for family reasons.
Stokes will also miss the third Test and former England captain Michael Vaughan said his absence “will have a big effect on the England team’s psychology.”
Vaughan also told William Hill: “He (Stokes) plays a big, big role in that dressing room.
“Even though he’s not had a massive impact in terms of the ball or the bat in the last couple of games, he has a big impact with his persona in that dressing room.”
Vaughan, however, added: “Even though Ben Stokes is out I think England will be too strong.”
Robinson has been one of the most impressive bowlers in English domestic cricket in recent years, taking 137 wickets in total across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
He also performed well in Australia during the second-string England Lions tour in the northern hemisphere winter and took two wickets in the intra-squad match between Team Stokes and Team (Jos) Buttler in Southampton at the start of last month.
Both Chris Woakes, the man of the match last week, and Stuart Broad are in fine form.
But the pair have played in three Tests in under four weeks, England will want to assess their fitness as well as that of fellow paceman Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran before deciding on their final XI

ENGLAND SQUAD
Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dom Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)