F1 season start 'more than just chequered flag and champagne' - Silverstone boss
Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle has defended Formula 1's decision to finally start the 2020 season.
F1 has announced an eight-race European schedule, starting in Austria from July 5, with the hope further grands prix can be added at a later date as the coronavirus pandemic changes in each country.
Silverstone will host a double-header of events, with the British Grand Prix to be held on August 2, and a race entitled the '70th Anniversary GP' to follow a week later on August 9.
The move follows the lobbying of F1 and Silverstone officials to the UK government to bypass the planned 14-day quarantine period for all arrivals from June 6. It has now been determined elite sports stars will be exempt.
Explaining the reasoning behind F1's decision, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told Sky Sports: "For Formula 1, it's been an incredibly difficult task to try and work out where they can go on a timescale that's realistic.
"But also to the government that has been hugely supportive about getting sport back underway, the importance to the British public at this time has been fully appreciated, and also the importance to business, to industry.
"It's not just about a glossy race, that's the final product, it's actually about an industry of 40,000 jobs that sit behind it, and it's about getting those people back to work and that business up and running.
"Yes, of course, there are the glamorous racing drivers, the heroes at the front of it, but it's so much more than just the chequered flag and champagne."
All the European races will be run without fans, with F1 also disappointingly confirming only one of the Silverstone events will be made free-to-air, as is the case anyway with the British GP.
Pringle is adamant that despite the loss of the British fans, the event will still prove attractive to the television audience.
"We know that Formula 1 translates really well to television," added Pringle. "Of course, we'd rather have the fans, and I, for one, will miss them.
"The atmosphere is unique on grand prix Sunday normally at Silverstone, but we can make this work without fans, we can make it work for television.
"We've got some really exciting plans to give some extra content and to get the fans involved from their home, their sofas, in a way that at least gives them some involvement with the racing, even if they can't be here in person."
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