Covid-19: Formula 1 fans’ return to Silverstone ‘so strange’
After being locked out last year, about 350,000 people are slotxo descending on a small corner of Northamptonshire as the Silverstone Circuit plays host to the British Grand Prix. What do those in the neighbouring village think of the return of the Formula 1 fans?
The three-day fixture is going to witness the largest crowd for a sporting event in the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Silverstone usually stages the annual British Grand Prix, but last year due to the changed Formula 1 calendar, it hosted two races, both behind closed doors with no fans.
Lewis Hamilton won the first race, while Max Verstappen was victorious in the second race a week later.
The village of Silverstone has a population of just over 2,000, and many see the Grand Prix as a boost for local businesses.
‘The demand has been so high’
Anette Wilson’s four grass fields are normally used for grazing sheep, but she turns them into campsites for Grand Prix weekend.
She says the return of fans is “so strange, it feels so surreal, it just feels incredible, it’s amazing”.
There are “lots of Covid safety measures” and “thankfully campsites are outdoors so we’re pretty low-risk”.
“There’s hand sanitiser and signs to remind people to social-distance,” she adds.
‘We can double our takings’
Matthew Croft runs Silverstone’s village shop and says it is “good to see the Grand Prix” back.
“We’re expecting something pretty good, certainly better than last year,” he says.
“I’m pleased for the circuit, because they’ve had quite a tough time of it and it is good for the local economy.”
The British Grand Prix used to alternate each year between Silverstone and Brands Hatch, with the circuit in Kent hosting the race for the last time in 1986.
Mr Croft says: “We have got used to a Grand Prix every year… we’ve been very fortunate. It wasn’t so good last year.”