Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Chaos at Silverstone compounds a week of logistical failure for UK motorsport // Thousands miss practice stuck in Northamptonshire tailbacks

Published by Mr. C

The opening day of the British Grand Prix was blighted by traffic problems that saw many fans missing out on one or both F1 free practice sessions at the Silverstone circuit. Fans were still reportedly queuing to get into the venue at 17:00 local time, many hours after track running had ceased.

Memories of the disruption that marred the event back in 2000 were fresh in spectators minds as car parks and campsites were closed following days of poor weather in the UK.

Slippery when wet

Problems for Grand Prix organisers comes less than seven days after the Goodwood Festival of Speed bore witness to traffic jams in excess of five hours. In that instance, Sidepodcast's very own Christine eventually gave up queuing at 1pm and turned for home.

British motorsport fans can't seem to catch a break from this summer's poor weather it would seem.

Heavy rain in the UK wouldn't have come as a surprise to organisers, given that is just about all this country has witnessed in 2012, but the rural location of both events limits the amount that can be done to mitigate for extreme bouts of weather. Silverstone's director of communications Katie Tyler put things into perspective talking to Sporting Life today.

We try to plan for every scenario, but at the end of the day we are surrounded by fields and the cost of Tarmacing the whole site is not feasible. A lot of the fields are historical and ancient ground which you can't Tarmac.

- Katie Tyler, Silverstone director of communications

One might question whether secluded locations, with limited availability of permanent hard standing parking facilities, are the best place to hold events attracting 185,000 (FoS) and 300,000 (BGP) fans apiece.

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Problems at Silverstone continue into late evening, as those exiting the venue come face-to-face with those still attempting to enter it.

We have moved 20ft in an hour and aren't even close to leaving the car park. Utter fail.

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More adverse weather is predicted during the next two days, and having sold even more tickets for Saturday and Sunday, organisers expect things to get worse before they get better. With campsites overwhelmed and frustrated fans stuck in both directions, this year's British Grand Prix is likely to once again be memorable for all the wrong reasons.

In an attempt to manage frustrations, those in charge claim consideration is being given to the possibility of reimbursing anyone who missed out on Friday action.

The 2012 Olympics begin this month in the UK and motorsport fans will no doubt keep a keen eye on logistics to see if other sports can handle many thousands of fans with far less fuss and whether things might be different in the racing world if the British Grand Prix was held somewhere a little closer to civilisation.

If you were affected by any traffic problems today, please leave a comment below and share your experience.

Update: All ticket holders with a public car parking pass for Saturday are being advised not to attend the event now. Persons with park and ride passes, or pre-booked camping arrangements can continue as planned. A statement from Silverstone confirms that Friday ticket holders will be entitled to a full ticket refund, as will those not using their Saturday tickets.

As yet, there's no word about arrivals for the race on Sunday, but presumably anyone with three day passes will be entitled to at least a percentage back for days missed.

Update Silverstone say all is good for Sunday ticket holders - "Car parks will be open tomorrow - anyone with a valid ticket should come to the Grand Prix".