Stay away from Silverstone!

Friday’s practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was marred by torrential rains (40mm in 12 hours) and massive traffic jams. The situation was so bad that race organizers are asking fans who hold public parking passes to stay away from the circuit on Saturday:

“We are strongly advising anyone with a public parking ticket not to come [on Saturday],” said Phillips.

“What we can do tomorrow is accept people that are in park and ride. People who are camping or who can walk in are fine. There are a lot of categories and paddock-ticketed people that go into the centre and will be fine to get in.

“There will come a point [tomorrow] – and that’s why I am dissuading people now – where we will probably stop the traffic on the Dadford Road [the A43] and push them straight through past the circuit. And I don’t want to do that.

“The people that didn’t get in today, we are offering refunds to and anybody that doesn’t get in tomorrow will get a refund.”

Organizers are hoping that many of the race fans will take advantage of a park and ride system to reduce the traffic and ease the frustration as well as chaos experienced on Friday. With over 120,000 spectators expected Sunday, Silverstone will do well to arrive at a parking strategy that works no matter what the conditions are like.

No doubt Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone will view this with the historic nonplussed position he’s always held about Silverstone. On a good note, it’s highly doubtful that Ecclestone is taking advantage of the caravan accommodations as they were a real issue:

“Yesterday, we had quite a good day with the sun shining,” said Phillips. “The car parks were in a reasonable condition and we announced that we were going to go to an amber situation just in case and use the hard standing car parks if we could and keep off the grass.

“What happened today is with the rain also came a lot of campers that didn’t come in yesterday. They didn’t come in to camp because of the wet weather, they came in caravans and Winnebagos and couldn’t get into the campsites as the campsites were waterlogged and wouldn’t let them in. So they were being turned away.

“We tried to accommodate as many as we possibly could but the damage was started by then. We had to abandon just parking on hard standing because we just had to get traffic in as best we could.

“We broke into a lot of the grass car parks. As a result of that, we have basically lost 50 per cent of our parking.”

If you’re a ticket-holding fan looking for parking, you may take note of Silverstone’s warning…stay away.

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