British Grand Prix: New measures in place after 'wake-up call'


Silverstone say they have learned the lessons from the problems with access that they experienced at last year's British Grand Prix.

Car parks made inaccessible by waterlogged ground following heavy rain forced the track to ask spectators not to attend qualifying day last year.

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips said: "What happened last year was unprecedented.

"But it was a wake-up call and we have put a lot of measures in place."

Phillips said Silverstone had invested "hundreds of thousands" of pounds in improved drainage in car parks, making car parks larger for the same capacity and expanding the track's park and ride schemes and coach access.

They are also, for the first time, chartering a train from London to Milton Keynes, from where passengers will be taken to the track by bus.

The train is a trial this season which Silverstone hope to expand from 2014 onwards.

Derek Warwick, the president of the track's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club, highlighted that about 400 events were cancelled across the country over the weekend of the British Grand Prix, which went ahead on the Sunday with a crowd of 127,000.

"We are determined to turn it around and put on a successful event," said Phillips.

Large traffic jam formed outside the circuit during practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
Large traffic jams formed outside the circuit on the Friday last year as car parks became water-logged

Silverstone are still seeking investors to enable them to embark on the next stage of their development programme, which includes more grandstands and a hotel, as well as additional industrial units.

Warwick admitted that "frustration is an understatement" for their failure to secure an investor but blamed the recession and the complexity of the plan, which requires the race track to be dovetailed with property development.

"We are talking to people but it's a complex deal," Warwick said. "The person we do a deal with, we want to secure the future of the grand prix."

Silverstone has a contract to hold the British Grand Prix until 2017 and Warwick said the race would continue unaffected whether or not a deal with an investor was struck.

Silverstone reimbursed those spectators affected last year and Phillips said that while most was covered by insurance, the track ended up losing about £100,000.

There are still tickets available for this year's race, which is on 30 June.