London – World champion Lewis Hamilton fears it is “premature” to allow a capacity crowd of 140,000 to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Following talks between the British government and Silverstone officials, the race in July will be watched by the country’s largest crowd for a sporting event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The British Grand Prix takes place on July 18 and Silverstone bosses will be allowed fill the venue over the entire weekend of qualifying and the race itself.
Hamilton, however, said he “was kind of split” over the issue.
“I read that the vaccination is good for there is less people being in hospital, but it feels a bit premature to me (to have a full crowd),” the British star said at Spielberg in Austria, where he was preparing for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix.
“But people go there, I hope we learn something from it, and I hope everyone stays safe.”
Hamilton insisted he did not want to put too negative a spin on the announcement.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to see people and the British crowd because it is the best crowd of the whole year,” he said.
“(But) obviously I watch the news so I hear about the cases going up massively in the U.K. So on that side I worry for people, naturally.”
Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle is understood to have stressed to government officials that the circuit would go bust if fans were not permitted.
“It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday,” Formula One president Stefano Domenicali said.
Both last year’s British and 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone took place behind closed doors.
Silverstone made the case that the 70,000 grandstand seats at the former Royal Air Force base are scattered over 3.5 miles, while the event is not reliant on public transport with the large majority of spectators arriving in cars.
Ticket holders will be asked for either proof of a negative lateral flow test, taken within 48 hours of arriving at Silverstone, or be fully vaccinated.
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