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Stuart Pringle hopeful of capacity crowd at British Grand Prix

The race is due to take place on July 18, four weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end coronavirus restrictions in England.

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle remains hopeful that the British Grand Prix will be staged in front of a 140,000-capacity crowd.

The Formula One race, a highlight of the British sporting summer, is due to take place on July 18, four weeks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end Covid-19 restrictions in England.

Sir Lewis Hamilton will this season be bidding to win an unprecedented eighth world championship.

This year's British Grand Prix is due to be staged on July 18
This year's British Grand Prix is due to be staged on July 18 (David Davies/PA)

"A full crowd is still absolutely on the table," Pringle, who has been in regular contact with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the PA news agency.

"Silverstone is not a tight stadium in the same way that a football stadium is or a tennis court.

"Our 70,000 grandstand seats are spread out over three-and-a-half miles. We have got a lot of space, we are absolutely an outdoor venue, we have a lot of entrances and exits.

"Anything is possible, but it has also been made clear it is far from guaranteed."

Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle has not given up hope of a full crowd this year
Silverstone boss Stuart Pringle has not given up hope of a capacity crowd this year (Chris Radburn/PA)

In the Government's road map for the easing of lockdown, fans are set to be allowed back into sporting arenas in limited numbers from May 17.

Pringle revealed that Silverstone recorded its fourth strongest day of sales since last year's British Grand Prix in the wake of Johnson's address.

It is understood the track could also host a number of test events for the Government to trial new rules.

Hamilton won last year's race which was staged without spectators
Hamilton won last year's race which was staged without spectators (PA Archive)

Last season's British and 70th Anniversary Grands Prix at Silverstone both took place behind closed doors, with the Northamptonshire circuit now having gone more than a year without paying spectators.

Pringle added: "We have been hit with a double-whammy because the other side to our business is conferences and exhibitions, and they have not been able to happen either.

"We had one event only with fans in 2020, the Pomeroy Trophy last February, which was attended by less than 100 people.

Pringle is hoping 140,000 fans can attend the race in July
Hamilton will hope to taste victory in front of home fans (Martin Rickett/PA)

"It has been extremely difficult. We have had no revenue, but have had all the costs of keeping a 550-acre site licensed, serviceable and capable of coming back.

"I want the 2021 British Grand Prix to take place with the largest number of fans attending as possible. That is hugely important to Silverstone so we will do whatever it takes to play our part in proving it is safe to do so.

"I see a strong pent-up demand for that from the public. They absolutely want to come so we have to create the environment where they are able to do so."

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the Bahrain Grand Prix on November 29, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events

· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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