Despite the rain, the mud, the traffic and the camping problems, an amazing 127,000 spectators turned out to watch the British Grand prix on Sunday July 8. Not a figure you’d see turning up to many of the other Grands Prix on the Formula 1 calendar.
Waterlogged car parks and soggy camp sites led to traffic chaos on Friday morning, but things improved on saturday after the track asked spectators not to come that day in order to make sunday run as smoothly as possible.
“It was a very difficult weekend,” Managing Director Richard Phillips told Motor Sport. “The weather conditions were extraordinarily difficult. We looked at the other events around us that were falling apart, and we wondered what we were going to do. But with Silverstone, Northants the decisions we made, with the fans’ co-operation and that of the local community, we pulled out a great Grand Prix. From the feedback that we had, a lot of people were very supportive of what we did.”
Silverstone took a major financial hit not just from the potential refunds to ticket holders who couldn’t beat the traffic, or obeyed the request to stay away on Saturday, but also from the extra costs of trying to solve the problems. “We spent more money trying to sort things out,” said Phillips. “Most people made it on sunday, so I don’t think that was particularly damaging. But as to the Friday and Saturday, we’ll have to see.”
Lessons will no doubt be learned, but what many will hopefully remember about the weekend will be a great motor race and a stunning victory for Mark Webber.