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Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in the 2019 British Grand Prix © AFP/File Andrej ISAKOVIC

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UK motorsport chief wants British Grand Prix to be spared quarantine laws

LONDON, United Kingdom, May 19 – The head of Motorsport UK urged the government on Wednesday to spare Formula One from quarantine laws that threaten plans to stage a British Grand Prix this year.

Silverstone is planning to host two races behind closed doors this summer, subject to British government approval, to make up for some of the lost time in the 2020 F1 season with 10 races already either cancelled or postponed.

But Formula One said Tuesday the races would be “impossible” if overseas arrivals are not exempt from 14-day quarantine restrictions when entering the United Kingdom.

With the COVID-19 quarantine rules due to come into force on June 1, David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK, called on the government to ensure two grands prix at the Silverstone circuit could go ahead as planned on July 26 and August 2.

“People forget that there is probably not one other sport that has such a big economic impact on this country as Formula One, in terms of the number of people employed here, either directly or indirectly,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“It brings great prestige around the world. For us to be able to host two events at Silverstone this summer, albeit spectator-free, would generate huge TV audiences.”

Richards added: “With the right precautions, we must be able to find a sensible way to protect the community locally and to handle this professionally for the teams. I can’t see why that shouldn’t happen.

“There is a great willingness in government. I hope that we can prevail and find the right solution.”

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A Formula One spokesperson, outlining the problems if the regulations were applied to motorsport, told AFP on Tuesday: “A 14-day quarantine would make it impossible to have a British Grand Prix this year.

“We would be travelling back to the UK on F1-only occupied aircraft and all staff would be tested making a quarantine totally unnecessary.

“If all elite sport is to return to TV then exemptions must be provided.”

Seven of the 10 teams on the grid have bases in England.

F1 organisers are hoping to start the season with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5 behind closed doors, followed by a second race at the same venue a week later.

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