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Have we let British GP fans down?

July 6, 2012

At the end of Friday’s practice sessions here at Silverstone, the unfortunate truth is that Saturday’s newspaper headlines will undoubtedly be influenced by today’s disastrous traffic issues and not so much by any ‘on track’ action. Hats off to the many thousands who made it here, the grandstands began filling as early as 7:30am in the pouring rain and that shows tremendous dedication.
Whilst the rain came down steadily all day long, although not in the form of a torrential deluge as predicted, it was certainly enough to curtail any meaningful preparation by most of the teams.
With rain forecast for the rest of the weekend in varying degrees, FP2 did manage to entice most people out in the end, just to try and get some useful data on wet tyres, brake temperatures and launch procedures etc. However the usual limitations of available wet tyres meant no one was going to do too much here today and use wets that may well be needed in top condition later in the event. The other factor which many teams had to consider due to the intense pace of development at almost every team this season, was the limited number of spare parts on hand to repair any damage. When a new front wing or floor’s hot off the production line late on a thursday evening and delivered to the circuit, as was the case for a lot of people yesterday, there’s often only time to make two or possibly three units to fit to the cars. Spares come along later as time permits, but in the mean time, ie. today, the risk of damaging your new upgrades over the potential gain from running in these changeable wet conditions, is generally not seen as a worthwhile one.

Unfortunately, the goings on in the pitlane and on circuit today were tragically academic for many many fans who became frustratingly grid locked on the roads leading towards Silverstone. Reports of racegoers being stuck in their cars for 5 hours or more only a handful of miles from the track have become increasingly common and whilst Silverstone themselves proudly announced yesterday their expectations of a record friday attendance of 80,000 people, there will clearly now be calls that the infrastructure here wasn’t up to handling these enormous numbers in these inclement, but anticipated conditions.
All the talk of the last few days has been about the unique passion and dedication of the British Grand Prix fans, and yet I can’t help feel that as a sport, in not shaping regulations to force more friday running, and even more so as an event and it’s management, we’ve let them down in varying degrees.

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From → Formula One

2 Comments
  1. Just resurfaced after the Silverstone Weekend and we were stuck in traffic for 7 hours only 1.5 miles from the track before being told to turn around and go home as the car parks and the campsites were closed. We ignored the advice, which was being handed out by young guys on the ground whose supervisors had disappeared into the ether and whose walkie talkies weren’t working!
    We turned around and rerouted ourselves through Dadford where we managed to get into the campsite, with no problems, and into the car park, again with no problems.
    We missed all of the action on Friday due to the lack of any traffic management system for the site. the idiocy of the thing was highlighted by the fact that the circuit opened up the exit dual carriageway to incoming cars, thereby trapping the exiting cars at the end of FP.
    Having said that, once we were in, regardless of the weather and the mud, we had a great Friday Night, Saturday, and Sunday. Thanks for the info on the BBC red button forum – we only booed a little when the Silverstone Chief came onstage – the quali, crowd, and race had improved our mood so much that Friday was nearly forgotten.

    • Thanks very much for letting us know what happened, Friday sounded like a total nightmare, but glad you still had a good weekend.

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