Silverstone plays down track concerns

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The home of British racing has reacted to concerns about the suitability of the track ahead of what could be the final British Grand Prix. Silverstone Circuit bosses say they have no fears about this year’s race suffering, despite it being scheduled as the first event to  take place on the circuit after planned resurfacing work has been carried out. 

Silverstone will close the grand prix circuit following the British GT meeting on June 8-9 for the maintenance, with the British GP scheduled to be the first event to run on the new asphalt on July 10-12.

The complete overhaul follows the cancellation of last year’s MotoGP round, which was flooded off when the original resurfacing, which was completed in early 2018, failed to cope with drainage.

The mid-season downtime has already taken its toll on club events, with two meetings having to be cancelled. Re-opening with the British GP – Silverstone’s biggest event of the year – appears a risk, but Silverstone’s managing director Stuart Pringle disputed this: “The slot we’ve deliberately chosen for the resurfacing is actually safer for the British GP, because within our F1 contract there’s a set period of time before the event when the track has to be given over to F1, and that actually gives us much longer to correct any potential issues or ‘slippage’ that may arise. It’s not as risky as it may look from the outside and we don’t foresee any trouble.”

Silverstone launched an investigation into the events that led to the venue having to cancel last year’s British MotoGP round on race day, forcing it to refund ticket holders. Pringle declined to comment on the progress or outcome of that investigation. The current surface was also criticised by F1 drivers last year for being bumpy.

This year’s British GP is also the last under the current contract, after Silverstone opted to activate its break clause citing the spiralling costs of staging the race. There has yet to be any word on the progress of renegotiation with Liberty Media to keep the race on the calendar from 2020 onwards.

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