Silverstone to be behind closed doors and French GP AXED as F1 calendar takes another hit by coronavirus – The Sun

BRITISH GP bosses have confirmed that this year's race will be behind closed doors – subject to government approval – while the French GP has become the 10th race to fall.

F1 chiefs have confirmed that the race at Paul Ricard, that was scheduled for June 28, has been postponed due to the French government's extension of their coronavirus lockdown.

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F1's owners, Liberty Media, had identified the French GP as a possible starting point for their ghost GPs, as SunSPORT suggested, with multiple races at the same venue.

However, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, has banned large gatherings in the country until mid July, meaning the race had to be canned.

Meanwhile, Silverstone chief, Stuart Pringle has written to ticket holders for the British GP on July 19th announcing that they cannot run the GP as normal.

Lewis Hamilton last year won the race for a record sixth time.

Pringle said that ticket holders could defer their tickets until 2021 or get a full refund.

He also announced that the Northamptonshire circuit would be distributing free tickets for the 2021 British GP to NHS staff and key workers.

He said: "I am extremely disappointed to tell you that we are unable to stage this year's British Grand Prix in front of the fans at Silverstone.

"We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the Government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a Grand Prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.

"Our obligations to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in preparing and delivering the event, our volunteer marshals and Race Makers, and of course, you, the amazing fans, means that this is the best, safest and only decision we could make.

"We have consistently said that should we find ourselves in this position we will support Formula One as they seek to find alternative ways to enable F1 racing to take place this year.

"Following this weekend's news from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport we are now working with them on the viability of an event behind closed doors.

"Should this be possible, it will be of some small comfort for you to know that the 2020 Formula One Pirelli British Grand Prix will be available to watch live on Sky and Channel 4.

"I can also confirm that next year, we intend to give away thousands of tickets for the 2021 event to NHS and other key workers who have literally been putting their lives on the line for us all, during these challenging times. No one can be in any doubt of the huge debt of gratitude we owe to them."

Eric Boullier, Managing Director of the French GP said: "Given the evolution of the situation linked to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the French Grand Prix takes note of the decisions announced by the French state making it impossible to maintain our event.

The eyes of the GIP Grand Prix de France – Le Castellet are already turning towards the summer of 2021 in order to offer our spectators an even more original event in the heart of the Southern Region."

Chase Carey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Formula One added: "We have been in close contact with the French promoter during this evolving situation and while it is disappointing for our fans and the F1 community that the French Grand Prix will not take place we fully support the decision taken by the French authorities in France and look forward to being back at Paul Ricard soon."

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