Silverstone‎: F1 fans set to miss out‎ as thousands left stranded

Published: 07th July 2012 03:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2012 03:00 PM   |  A+A-


Grand Prix fans are being warned not to attend the Silverstone race track today as heavy rain yesterday left thousands stranded in traffic jams near the site.

Silverstone said they would refund unused tickets for Friday and Saturday and in a sign of mounting desperation asked anyone with public car parking passes to stay away on Saturday, qualifying day for the race, to ensure fields were not too churned up for Sunday.

The circuit's managing director Richard Phillips, looking tired and his voice showing the strain as the sun finally shone after steady rain, said Silverstone would not be able to cater for up to 30,000 of the expected crowd of 100,000 on Saturday.

"Our ultimate aim now is to try and preserve as much as we possibly can for Sunday," he told reporters, explaining half the public car parks had been lost to the weather and offering an "unreserved apology" to fans.

Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was contacted and told not to bother turning up.

The race will go ahead as planned, however.

"What we can do tomorrow is accept people that are in Park and Ride (areas)...people that are in camping and that can walk in. We are strongly advising anybody with a public parking ticket not to come tomorrow."

Corporate guests, sponsors, media and others who park inside the circuit will not be affected.

Phillips said without people staying away there would otherwise come a point where incoming traffic would have to be directed straight past the circuit and on to exit roads.

A crowd of 80,000, more than turn up on race day at some other circuits, was expected at Friday's two practice sessions on what was forecast to be the wettest day of the British summer.

With many of the teams based locally, and with McLaren's two British world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton having a chance of winning, Sunday's likely attendance has been put at more than 125,000.

Phillips said the refunds offered would cost Silverstone "an awful lot of money' without giving a precise sum.

He said: "It's going to cost us a lot of money. I honestly don't know the figure, but it could be a lot more than hundreds of thousands (of pounds).

"I wasn't here in 2000 but this is my 2000 I guess, isn't it?," he said. "This (the race) is something I've been very proud of over the years and I feel I almost could cry now."

Problems started when a deluge of up to 40 millimetres of rainfall fell in a 12-hour period.

Across the country, the Environment Agency issued more than 40 flood warnings and over 120 less serious flood alerts as a month’s rain fell in just 24 hours.

Householders in the worst-affected areas in East Anglia, the Midlands and northern England were advised to move their valuables upstairs, roll up carpets and put down sandbags.

There is no immediate end in sight to the wash-out summer, with meteorologists warning that Britain is very unlikely to see a long spell of hot, sunny weather during the Olympics.

However, the Met Office does say that the conditions when the Games are on should not be as bad as they have been over the past month.

Bookmakers William Hill today cut the odds of rain falling during the Olympics opening ceremony on July 27 from 4/1 to 1/1.


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