Silverstone Classic Cancelled, Potential F1 Date Up For Grabs
In another Covid-19-related blow to classic car fans, organisers of the annual Silverstone Classic have confirmed that the event will not take place in 2020.
Originally scheduled for 31 July – 2 August, the three-day festival celebrating classic motoring and motorsport was set to host its 30th iteration at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, UK. However, the difficulties of hosting a large crowd – organisers claim upwards of 100,000 people were expected to attend across the weekend – whilst simultaneously maintaining social distancing render this difficult. Organisers Goose Live Events were also not keen to run behind closed doors, citing the event’s “much-loved family festival ethos” as another stumbling block.
On top of that, on-going plans for Silverstone to tentatively host the Formula 1 British Grand Prix with limited personnel and without crowds in attendance on the same weekend mean the belated 30th anniversary celebration will now take place in 2021. Though details of a re-scheduled date next year have yet to be announced, Goose Live Events have confirmed all tickets purchased thus far will be honoured in 2021. Plans to honour Alfa Romeo and Abarth’s 110th and 70th anniversaries respectively this summer could also form part of the 2021 itinerary.
“Following the latest Government advice, coupled with other scheduling changes at Silverstone, we have reached the inevitable conclusion that we will need to cancel this year’s event,” Goose Live Events CEO Nick Wigley explained in an official statement. “Given the current circumstances and the unclear outlook on timescales, staging a postponed event – which was our original back-up plan – isn’t something we can plan for with any degree of certainty if we are to deliver the style of Classic that we all know and love.
“I can’t tell you how sad this news makes me feel. For the last 12 years it has been my life’s focus to build the Classic into the most amazing family friendly classic racing festival, the biggest and many people think the best in the world, but our priority at all times is the safety and wellbeing of those attending our events – as well as our own team – and we know that Classic fans will understand why this step has been necessary.”
News of the Silverstone Classic’s cancellation means track officials can now push ahead with plans to host back-to-back Formula 1 Grand Prix behind closed doors on 26 July and 2 August. The proposal appeared to be stymied when the British government announced that all international arrivals into the UK are required to spend 14 days in quarantine from 8 June onwards, a notable blow for Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Alpha Tauri personnel in particular. However, after a great deal of lobbying by both Silverstone’s management team and Formula 1 owner Liberty Media, plus British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s reported interest in supporting the races, it’s been suggested that an exemption could be made for the sport’s travelling personnel in an effort to get the 2020 F1 season up and running.
Failing that, both Hockenheim and the Hungaroring have been mooted as potential replacements as Formula 1 gears up to get back to racing on 5 July.