Why Lewis Hamilton will not have support of the F1 fans at Silverstone this time

Formula 1 is planning to start its 2020 season on July 5 in Austria after the French Grand Prix became the 10th race this year to be postponed or cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Not this time: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton celebrates with fans after winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Picture: David Davies/PA

The decision to cancel the race at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet on June 28 seemed increasingly unavoidable after French President Emmanuel Macron placed a ban on mass gatherings in the country until at least mid-July.

But F1 chief Chase Carey is optimistic of beginning the campaign a week later at Austria’s Red Bull Ring and holding between 15 and 18 races before the curtain closer in Abu Dhabi in December.

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Carey, though, does anticipate the first few races to be held behind closed doors, with the British Grand Prix telling its fans that its event on July 19 will be held without spectators.

Silverstone’s owners said that a race “under normal conditions is just not going to be possible” in announcing a decision to keep supporters away from the event.

Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said in a letter: “We have left this difficult decision for as long as possible, but it is abundantly clear given the current conditions in the country and the Government requirements in place now and for the foreseeable future, that a grand prix under normal conditions is just not going to be possible.”

To date, three Grands Prix have been cancelled – Australian, Monaco, French – and seven postponed – Bahrain, Vietnam, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish, Azerbaijan, Canadian.

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