I’m afraid that for me, the tragedy of the Belgian Grand Prix was not the unforeseeable cancellation of the race but the sheer stupidity of spectator arrangements.
With a general admission ticket (which cost approximately £25) one is usually allowed to walk around the entire length of the circuit. At Spa we were amazed when we were stopped half way around by embarrassed ticket controllers, who refused to let us any further because we had not purchased a “privilege” ticket costing £10 more. They apologetically indicated that the way ahead lay behind the perimeter fence. We looked disbelievingly at a grass verge of about four inches bordered by the fence on one side, and by a ditch and marshy ground on the other. Being hardy souls, we clambered along until we were allowed back on terra firma. I was concerned to see my husband with blood dripping down his arm from a cut sustained during this exercise.
We continued to the chicane. Yet again the dreaded ticket control was in sight. This time we were directed up steep wooden stairs into dense forest, which by all accounts had not been disturbed by human exploration. The steep hillside was slippery yet the authorities had thoughtfully placed rolls of barbed wire to catch you should you lose grip of the tree branch you were holding onto. Our legs were covered in scratches from the trees. I am sorry to say that we were forced to prop up the barbed wire and climb underneath to the safety of the privileged area. We felt both annoyed and degraded.
I realise that this is not a side of Grand Prix seen by either press or television, and this is why I feel it worthy of comment. This was our second visit to Francorchamps, the first being a pleasant memory of an enjoyable race two years ago. This year we could not reach our previous raceday vantage point as it was designated a “privilege” area.
If Spa is an example of how Mr Ecclestone and his FOCA friends intend to treat spectators, the warning on Grand Prix tickets “Motor racing is dangerous” will take on new meaning and a general admission ticket will get you about as far as the perimeter fence! Maidstone, Kent MRS B. M. LONG [We have received a number of letters in a similar vein — Ed.]