Silverstone set a new UK record for a sporting crowd during the pandemic era yesterday (Sunday) as 140,000 fans attended Formula 1’s British Grand Prix.

The event was able to go ahead at full capacity after it was added to the UK Government’s Events Research Programme. Along with golf’s Open Championship, it was among the last events to form part of the programme ahead of today’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ in England, where all COVID-19 restrictions have now been lifted.

Around 350,000 fans are believed to have attended the British Grand Prix from Friday to Sunday, with a capacity crowd of 140,000 witnessing Lewis Hamilton’s victory yesterday.

In line with the terms of the ERP, all spectators were required to show proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at Silverstone, or proof of full vaccination with the second dose having been received at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the grand prix.

Silverstone worked closely with experts from the ERP and the director of public health in Northamptonshire on the specific conditions of entry to enable the event to go ahead safely. Ahead of yesterday’s race, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told The Guardian that he had “complete confidence” in the circuit’s ability to run the event safely.

Other events which formed part of the latest phase of the ERP were Wembley’s UEFA Euro 2020 matches and the Wimbledon tennis championships.

Sports venues in England are free to open at full capacity from today after the UK Government announced earlier this month that restrictions would be lifted. Step 4 of England’s roadmap out of lockdown does not include a legal requirement on the use of COVID-19 status certification as a condition of entry for visitors to “any domestic setting”.

The lifting of restrictions will mean that the football season can begin next month with full stadiums in the Premier League and English Football League (EFL).

The Government had previously hoped that restrictions would be lifted from June 21 but this was pushed back by four weeks due to rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Image: Carl Jorgensen on Unsplash