F1 » 07 July 2012
Silverstone to 30,000 fans: stay away!
The Silverstone Circuit organisers have appealed to fans holding public car park passes for Saturday not to come to today's event because of flooding following heavy rain.
British Grand Prix race organisers are having to appeal to spectators due to come to Silverstone for qualifying on Saturday not to travel to the circuit after all, and to stay away because of the heavy rain.
Those fans who hold public car park passes are being warned that there might be no where for them to park if they do try and travel to the circuit today.
"Silverstone are strongly advising fans with public car park passes for today not to come to Silverstone," an official statement said. "Unless spectators have pre-booked park and ride, a hospitality ticket that includes parking in the centre of the circuit, or are in local campsites and able to walk to the circuit, Silverstone strongly advises you do not attend the qualifying day.
"Silverstone has had to take this action due to the fact that 50% of the public car parks have been lost due to the severe weather conditions over the last weeks and, in particularly, the last 36 hours," the statement added. "Silverstone is doing everything possible to protect and preserve as many of the car parks ahead of tomorrow."
The organisers have confirmed that they will refund any unused Friday or Saturday tickets, which will likely cost the circuit a figure somewhere over a million pounds, as between 20,000 and 30,000 fans are thought to be affected by the advice to stay away.
"It's going to cost us a lot of money," said Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips. "I honestly don't know the figure, but it could be a lot more than hundreds of thousands."
Already on a drenched Friday - attended by a record estimated 80,000 fans despite the downpour limiting on-track action - the area around the Grand Prix circuit was quickly being churned up into a mudbath.
In order to cope with the massive crowds on Friday, Silverstone opened up some of the grass fields normally reserved for race day parking, but fear that to do so again on Saturday will mean that they are in no condition to be used on Sunday, affecting the race itself.
"Right now we're trying to get ourselves into a situation to get in as many people as we can from a position of devastation," explained Phillips of the decision to ask fans to stay away from qualifying. "I unreservedly apologise to people. I feel very responsible for it, this is something I've been very proud of over the years and I almost could cry now."
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