Silverstone chiefs vow to stage 'record-breaking' British GP next year as 350,000 fans miss out due to coronavirus

SILVERSTONE chiefs are planning a "record-breaking" bumper British Grand Prix for 2021 to make up for this year's behind-closed-doors race.

Last year, over 350,000 fans attended over the four days whereas this year the grandstands will be empty as part of the coronavirus measures.

Circuit bosses have warned fans not to waste their time trying to get close to the track to sneak a glimpse of Lewis Hamilton or even hear his Mercedes on track.

However, next year, Silverstone MD Stuart Pringle wants to recapture the atmosphere from 1992 – when Nigel Mansell won the world title – a period dubbed "Mansell Mania" when British F1 fans flocked to the circuit.

He said: "I am certain we will all feel the lack of fans but we want to focus on next year.

"We don't know what the world will be like but I sincerely hope we are operating as normal by July next year.

"Providing it is safe to do so, I think we need to have a look and see if we can break some records next year because there is unquestionably a pent-up demand.

"I have my sights on topping Mansell Mania. That's what I want to go for – '92 particularly because that was absolutely massive.

"What's interesting now is that it is all coming in to focus, even for the less casual viewer.

"Lewis Hamilton is now recognised as one of the greatest ever and then you have Lando Norris, who is fourth in the championship for McLaren.

"Then, if you are a fan of the sport, you will be aware of what a great job George Russell is doing.

"We are about to enter a golden period for British Formula One interest.

"We have arguably the greatest ever and then the other two British lads, who are the heirs to his throne."

Pringle says that the Northamptonshire circuit is now fully prepared for this weekend's race – followed by a GP to mark the sport's 70th anniversary next week in a unique doubled-header.

He added: "I am happy. I don't have any concerns.

"I think we are lucky we are the fourth and fifth races of the year and we are benefiting greatly from F1 and the FIA's experiences from the first three rounds. All the testing procedures are up and running."

McLaren ace Norris says the British GP without fans will not feel "as special" as his F1 debut last year.

He said: "It is going to feel weird going to the home GP and not having any of the fans there.

"It would have been nice to see even more flags with my name on. When you don't have the fans it doesn't mean as much, it's not as cool, it's not as special.

"But at least we're racing, back on track, and heading in the right direction. Hopefully, next year we can get the fans back and they can enjoy the racing again."

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