Formula 1 remains in discussions with the UK government over hopes to stage a British Grand Prix, following new quarantine restrictions announced for international arrivals.

On Friday, the government unveiled its plans to force all international travellers to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival into the UK from June 8. Sport - including F1 personnel - will not be exempt from the measures which were outlined in full by Home Secretary Priti Patel during the daily Downing Street briefing. 

Exemptions are being made for lorry drivers, medical officials and seasonal farm workers, with international travellers who fail to self-isolate facing fines of £1,000. Those entering the UK will also undergo random spot checks at border control.

Despite F1 failing to gain exemption from the restrictions, talks between the government and championship bosses are set to continue with special solutions for elite sports being explored by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In theory, the quarantine rules act as a major roadblock for F1’s hopes to hold back-to-back races at Silverstone on July 26 and August 2, as there would not be sufficient time for F1 personnel to return to the UK from the planned season-opener in Austria and observe the mandatory two-week quarantine period. 

F1 has been in regular dialogue with the UK government and had hoped to be granted exemption for those travelling for F1 as they would be able to prove they are virus-free under a strict “biosphere” plan which will see staff regularly tested for coronavirus. 

In a statement issued earlier this week, F1 acknowledged that failure to be granted exemption would make it “impossible” to stage races at Silverstone, which had recently confirmed it had agreed terms to host two behind closed doors races on consecutive weekends. 

On Friday, an F1 spokesman said: "We have been working closely with government on the implications of the policy for Formula 1 and Silverstone.

“Those discussions are ongoing at this time with the aim of finding a solution with safety as our first priority.”

The government has stated the measures will be reviewed every three weeks following their implementation, meaning the situation remains fluid for F1 should they be lifted after the initial three-week period.

Such a scenario could open the door for Silverstone to stage races without spectators as initially hoped, though it is not clear how long F1 can wait before the dates will no longer be feasible.

Speaking to Sky Sports on Friday, Silverstone’s managing director, Stuart Pringle, said he is confident F1 can prove its personnel can enter the UK safely.

"It's a very complex sport to get going because it's a global championship with a huge logistical tail," he explained. "So Formula 1 does need to know that it can set off on its global travel and be able to come in and out of its home base.

"I am very clear that the importance of the industry is understood by government. I remain very optimistic that they will find a way. I'm very, very conscious that it's extremely complicated drafting these things and working up against ever-moving deadlines - it's not a task I'd wish to undertake.

"So I remain optimistic that a sensible and pragmatic solution, which puts the onus on the sport quite rightly to come up with the right solution, can be found."

Hockenheim has emerged as the front-runner to replace Silverstone on the revised calendar in the event of the British Grand Prix being cancelled after holding talks with F1 in recent weeks. 

 

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