The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix (formally known as the Emirates Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix 2020) is a one-off Formula One race to be held on from 7th August to 9 August 2020 at the Silverstone Circuit in Silverstone, United Kingdom, with the 2020 British Grand Prix taking place on the very same circuit seven days earlier.
The race is largely attributable to be the fifth round of the formula 1 world Championship scheduled for 2020. It will be played as a 70-year remembrance of the Formula One World Championship on the same track that hosted the first Grand Prix Championship in 1950.
Impact of Corona Virus (COVID 19) on the race.
The starting rounds of the 2020 championship were heavily influenced by the pandemic of COVID-19. A few Grand Prix is scrapped or delayed after the failed opening round in Australia, causing the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile to draw up a new schedule.
When the program was rewritten after the pandemic, the Hungarian and British Grand Prix had exchanged dates with the Hungarian Grand Prix on 19 July and the British Grand Prix on 2 August. The early cancelation and prolonged postponement led to a series of double events.
The 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was introduced to the schedule as a yet another-off event to ensure that new events were confirmed.
There were doubts about whether Silverstone would be able to host Formula One due to the quarantine methods introduced by the British Government, and hopes were raised again by the public interference of Prime Minister Boris Johnson encouraging his ministers to grant the Formula One Racing Exemption. The British Government gave permission to Formula One at Silverstone.
In addition to the Grand Prix Anniversary schedule on 9 August (the main event), also in Silverstone, the United Kingdom will host two Formula One races in the same season for the first time in 27 years. The last season to have two British races in the same season was the 1993 season when Donington Park hosted the European Grand Prix and Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix.
It was later announced that Silverstone had agreed to stage up to 12 races in total during the season. Compared to the start of the three rounds, the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix will be held “behind closed doors” without any spectators.
Northamptonshire Police stressed the value of spectators keeping away from Silverstone over the two Grand Prix weekends for public safety purposes, and that stringent precautions should be in effect to deter unwanted crowds from accessing the track.
The teams and drivers remained the same as that of the pre-season entry list, with the exception of Sergio Pérez, who was substituted by Nico Hülkenberg at the British Grand Prix. Robert Kubica took part in the first Alfa Romeo Racing testing session, replacing Antonio Giovinazzi.
This was widely speculated that Pérez would miss the Grand Prix because he came out positive for SARS-2 coronavirus (which triggers COVID-19) three days before the British Grand Prix, which would have been consistent with the new British Government rule for anyone who tested positive for self-isolation for ten days.
UK COVID-19 Quarantine rules prior to July 30 mentioned that individuals must be self-isolated for 7 days rather than 10 days, which means that Pérez could compete in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix if he came back a negative on Thursday before that race.
Even so, after qualifying for the British Grand Prix, it was announced that, because Formula One relied on the hospitality of the relevant authorities to host races, the FIA would allow Pérez to undergo a ten-day exclusion period, while no formal announcement came by either Formula One and the FIA on the matter.
Racing Point stated on 6 August this was not the case and that Pérez would be eligible to compete if he received a negative coronavirus check. Perez did a positive test, however, and so Nico Hülkenberg was verified to start.
The first practice session passed without incident and ended with Valtteri Bottas quickest ahead of Mercedes’ team member Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The second session ended with the quickest Hamilton, followed by Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.
More toward the end of the session, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari and Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo both suffered engine problems, the latter bringing the warning flag to an early end of the session. The third practice session ran uninterrupted and finished with Hamilton’s fastest ahead of Bottas and McLaren’s Lando Norris.