Derek Warwick, the former British Racing Drivers’ Club president, claims Silverstone will survive even if the British GP is cancelled.
The race is set to be held on 19 July, but with the Covid-19 outbreak causing the first nine rounds of 2020 to be put on hold, the British GP looks set to add to that total with a decision required by the end of April.
But even though its postponement looks to be a foregone conclusion, Warwick is confident that Silverstone can survive financially without hosting the race which drew the best attendance of the 2019 season.
Speaking to Racefans.net, he said: “As a BRDC member I can only have praise for the board and for [Silverstone managing director] Stuart Pringle who has done an amazing job this last five, 10 years.
“When I was on the board and also as president I very much admired the people I was working with.
“It’s going to be tough for Silverstone if we cancel. And you have to say that we’re not looking like we’re going to be on top of this thing by the middle of July, so it will for sure, I think, be postponed hopefully for a later date.”
Unlike the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which was postponed from its original date of 29 June – 13 July, Silverstone are not insured against a cancellation due to a pandemic.
So Warwick admits that Silverstone are going to be “hurt” financially.
“It’s going to hurt them financially. They’re not insured for this virus, that’s for sure. So there will be a loss. How big that loss is I have no idea,” he explained.
“If this had happened – probably five years ago but certainly 10 years ago – could the club have handled it then? No. Has the club come a long way in the last five years? Absolutely.
“It’s actually got cash in the bank and it can do a good job. But you wouldn’t want this to go on too long. And if we can run the grand prix at a later date, we will get a lot of money back that otherwise, we’d have lost, I suspect.”
Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn has said that running races without fans at the circuit is an option, and Warwick believes that Pringle will already be in discussion with F1 officials about the financial impact of this.
“Whether that’s going to be possible, I have a big question mark,” he said.
“If we run it without spectators, I’m sure that the board and Stuart Pringle are already speaking to Formula 1 on whatever the current financial situation is.”
- TEAMtalk media