8 July 2012
Silverstone 'ready for race day' say organisers
After telling thousands of fans to stay away on Saturday, organisers at Silverstone are confident that they will be able to cope with everyone set to attend on race day.
Organisers of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone say that all ticket holders should make their way to the circuit for race day as normal, and that there is no need for anyone to stay away on Sunday.
"[The circuit] is now in a stronger position to accommodate all ticket holders coming to Silverstone on Sunday," a statement from track officials said. "The circuit has implemented further contingency plans throughout Friday night and Saturday."
The organisers sparked fury on Saturday when they were forced to urge up to 30,000 relying on general car parking facilities in the area to stay from qualifying, after many of the fields used for overspill car parks became flooded after days of atrocious weather in the area. That reduced available parking space at Silverstone by almost half.
But having 'rested' those areas on Saturday by asking fans to stay away, the organisers are confident that they are now up to the task of coping with all the traffic expected for race day, which could see up to 125,000 fans heading into Northamptonshire.
"The weather has been a constant issue over the weekend," said Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips on Saturday evening. "[It] will be a bit of a challenge, but please bear with us; we are going to do our best."
The official advice the circuit gave to fans was to come early, car parks being opened at 5am to start the process and longer walks for fans from the car parks to the track said to be likely. The organisers also suggested than fans should used 4x4 vehicles if possible in case the muddy conditions worsen, and to consider space-saving car share arrangements or coming by motorcycle.
Phillips also thanked those fans who heeded the call to stay away from the track on Silverstone despite having admission tickets.
"Silverstone would like to thank fans that heeded the circuit's advice and did not come the British Grand Prix on Saturday," the statement from the track officials said. "While it was an extremely difficult decision, and one that will have disappointed people that had to stay away, the decision gave the circuit a fighting chance to repair and get previously unsafe car parks into a state that can be used on race day."
Silverstone has confirmed that any ticket holders who were unable or chose not to come to the track on Friday or Saturday because of the weather and traffic problems would be fully refunded, a move that could cost the British Racing Drivers' Club that owns Silverstone more than a million pounds in lost revenue.
While Silverstone is encouraging all ticket holders to turn up for the race, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone revealed that he'd been advising his own friends to stay away.
"I've told all my friends not to come. It feels strange telling them that, but I am thinking of them," Ecclestone told the Daily Mail newspaper. "I am worried about the weather and the fans. I don't want a repeat of Friday's scenes, but the forecast for Sunday is bad and we are expecting more people than on any other day."
However, the 81-year-old continued to be positive about the prospects for the on-track action despite the weather.
"The race will go on. We will do our job and it promises to be a great race," he said.
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