This weekend’s Formula One (F1) back-to-back race at the Silverstone Circuit, Great Britain is dubbed Formula One 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. The race is dedicated to the continued existence of the Formula One championship since it’s inception in 1950 as the history tells us. The Formula One motorsport has evolved drastically along these years, be it safety wise, racing car technology, car shapes and designs, racing circuits, regulations, the list is endless. But the passion and support from the fans has always been resolute and overwhelming over the years. Had it not been the COVID-19 pandemic that has infested the world at large, the event could have been celebrated together with fans in a special way to mark the history of motorsport racing.
Impact of Covid-19 on Formula One
The Covid-19 pandemic affected many if not all sporting events so Formula One was no exception. The pandemic has prompted the F1 governing body, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) to draft a new calendar. Many races were canceled or postponed on the new calendar with proposal to stage back-to-back races and approval by hosting nations. The Red Bull Ring Circuit, Spielberg, Austria and Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom were identified as venues to host back-to- back races in the proposed calendar. Based on the fact that Formula One races attract huge numbers of fans and media personnel, the races are held under strict Covid-19 regulations. So to manage and prevent the spread of the pandemic, races are held under closed circuits (no fans), regular Covid-19 testing, teams are held under one bubble, extreme social distancing and wearing of masks by all attending the event is a prerequisite.
Importance of the 70th Anniversary GP
The 70th Anniversary Formula One Grand Prix was added to the revised calendar to mark the milestones achieved by the sport since its inception in 1950. There were concerns that Silverstone Circuit would not be able to stage any race event in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions and quarantine measures imposed by the British government. This was later cleared off by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson upon ensuring and assuring the organizers that the race event will go ahead as planned. So the staging of the 70th Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone means that for the first time just under thirty years, the United Kingdom has held two races in one calendar year. The race will also be held under strict conditions, viz without spectators. The race weekend is more than ever important for the FIA, teams, drivers and the absent spectators as the sport is currently handling issues of diversity and Covid-19 pandemic. Regular and prominent motorsport outlets and stores around the globe raise awareness by selling 70th Formula One Anniversary Grand Prix merchandise, magazines and collectibles to mark and remember this important motor sporting milestone.
What to Expect at the Anniversary Grand Prix
Formula One racing will get underway for the second time at the iconic Silverstone Circuit in a couple of day’s time. The Anniversary Grand Prix marks motor racing history and advancement in all aspect of the sport. Formula One turns 70 years of existence so this race event marks this milestone. The branding seeks to differentiate the event from the British Grand Prix but staged at the same circuit. Basically the newly branded race event at Silverstone provided a second back-to-back race at the same circuit with minimal traveling for the teams during the Covid-19 pandemic. Based on what happened in the last weekend race, where three cars suffered tyre punctures at almost the same time, conditions at the circuit have not necessarily changed.
The track temperature will be more or less the same (around the mid 30s) as the last weekend’s, the same tyre options will be supplied by Pirelli but with slightly increased pressures to minimize wear. The teams will be expected to strategize on a two stopper as opposed to a one stopper as witnessed in the previous race. The Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Bottas will be expected to lock the front row of the grid come qualifying session and will be the men to beat during the race. Incidents that warranted safety car deployment and late drama on tyre failures characterized the last race event so don’t expect a quiet race, anything can happen at Silverstone.
Who will miss out at the event?
The most to miss out at the year’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone race event is the fans. Due to strict Covid-19 restrictions fans are not allowed to grace any sporting events and F1 races are no exception. The atmosphere the fans bring to the racing circuits motivates the racing drivers to perform to the very highest level. Paddock clubs and experiences at the race venues are a source of ever lasting experiences to fans and VIPs, teams/mechanics, regular grand prix goers and the greater media personnel. It is quite disheartening to see how unusual paddocks and podium celebrations are conducted but the fact is we are living in the new normal. Had it not been the deadly Coronavirus the atmosphere would have been completely ecstatic as compared to the muted celebrations that are synonymous with the 2020 race weekends.
What’s next after Silverstone?
The simple answer is that from Silverstone all roads lead to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the Spanish Grand Prix!! Our hopes are pinned on continuous decrease in Covid-19 cases to the lowest possible figures. Based on these developments across the globe, the whole sporting community is on its toes to get to a point where restrictions will be lifted to allow fans to attend sporting events. This may naturally not happen in the 2020 F1 calendar, a season that many may be inclined to forget. The FIA has included new race venues in attempt to further minimize long distance traveling by F1 teams. This development has added venues like Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany (11th October), the Portugese Grand Prix, Autódromo International do Algarve, Portimão (25th October) and Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, ImolaI, Italy (1st November). A logistical approach where FIA is visiting venues that were used in the past so as to hang around Europe without crossing over to other continents.