Silverstone welcomes crowds of 120,000 at this year's F1 British GP

  • Watch a report from ITV Anglia's Graham Stothard

This year's Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone will host a full capacity crowd of more than 100,000, as part of the government's events testing programme.

The event this weekend (July 16-18) has sold around 120,000 tickets.

It will be the largest crowd for a UK sporting event since the start of the pandemic but comes amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Silverstone's Managing Director, Stuart Pringle, previously told ITV Anglia that the team at the circuit can't wait to welcome fans back.

Formula 1 fans attending the event are being asked to show a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at Silverstone, or, proof of full vaccination, the second dose having been received at least 14 days before the first day of attending the race.

The Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the event was allowed to go ahead in part because of the successful roll out of the vaccine. He said: "We are continuing to make progress, and events like this will pave the way for everyone to enjoy live sport and culture together safely once more."

The Red Arrows fly over during the 2018 British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit Credit: PA Images

Large crowds were also permitted for the final matches of Wimbledon, European Football Championship 2020, as well the Open golf tournament.

But in recent days the UK has experienced a rise in coronavirus cases.

There were 164 coronavirus patients in hospitals in the East of England on Thursday 15 July which was 62 more than during the previous week and the highest number since April.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the GP at Silverstone in 2019 Credit: PA Images

Last month seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton expressed concern for the safety of the British public following what he called a "premature" decision to allow 120,000 fans to watch the Grand Prix at Silverstone.

He said: "I cannot tell you how excited I will be to see the British crowd because it is the best crowd of the whole year.

"But of course I watch the news, I hear the cases going up massively in the UK since we have loosened up a bit, and on that side I worry about people.

"I have read that the vaccination programme is working and fewer people are in hospital, but it feels a bit premature to me.

"I like to err on the side of caution and slowly build up - rather than go full pelt and using our British fans as a test pen."