Silverstone reveals mad F1 offer as Hamilton warns fans ahead of British GP

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Silverstone offered to host as many as 12 Formula 1 races to ensure a championship took place in 2020, it's been revealed.

With F1 scrambling to put together a calendar due to the impact of Covid-19, the British Grand Prix venue emerged offering to do all it could to ensure the season went ahead.

As it is, currently 13 races in Europe are confirmed with another five in Asia and the Middle East expected across November and December.

But in the early weeks of talks, Silverstone was prepared to essentially be the base for F1 for much of the year.

“We said, ‘we’ll support however we can’ – within the grounds of reasonableness,” CEO Stuart Pringle told Autosport. “But at one stage we offered to make the track available for a period of months.

“If they could get a championship away from one location – at one stage it looked like nothing could happen and the answer was ‘ship in the Italian teams (Ferrari and AlphaTauri), the Swiss team (Alfa Romeo), and the Pirelli guys, and park them at Silverstone for a couple of months and run 12 races around Silverstone and make television if that’s what you need?’.

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“The view was taken pretty quickly that that would be a bit dull, but they came back and said ‘actually, two [would] be quite helpful,” he explained.

“And if you can bag, within the first month, half the races you need for a World Championship by going to two venues that you know you can control with a tight bubble, quarantine, whatever, then that’s a massive leg up on your journey towards securing eight races for a World Championship.”

As it is, 15 different venues as expected to feature on the full calendar, with three in Italy alone and Bahrain the third circuit to hold a doubleheader.

Meanwhile, Silverstone will host the British GP and 70th Anniversary GP, marking the milestone at the circuit where the first world championship race took place in 1950.

The only caveat will be the absence of fans, after setting the highest attendance totals for the past two years, and home favourite Lewis Hamilton admits that will be difficult to adjust to.

“The British Grand Prix is the best Grand Prix, particularly because of the fans, the thousands that turn up and really create the spectacle,” he said. “So it’s going to be super-weird and that is something I think I am still coming to terms with.

“The whole year… it’s the highlight of my year, the support is insane,” he continued.

“It grows every year and I get to interact with the fans differently on that weekend and it’s such an honour and privilege to be able to perform well and win a Grand Prix in your home country.

“I’ve also felt that fans give you extra time because they just give you so much energy and it really lifts you up and you’re bubbling, you’re walking on a cloud.”

Despite his frustration at not having over 100,000 members of TeamLH behind him at Silverstone, Hamilton is reinforcing the message from local police to the public - stay safe and stay at home.

“What I see on TV is people out trying to live their lives during this difficult time, but this thing continues to spread,” he told Autosport.

“So, I always just try to encourage people to keep their distance and remain at home… I can understand people will want to go and watch from a distance, just to get the sound of the car or to get a sneak peek of the car.

“But if that means that you’re in a crowd of other people, that’s definitely not a good thing, and I wouldn’t advise that.”