• British Grand Prix

Silverstone braced for the deluge

ESPN Staff
July 6, 2012 « De Villota remains in critical but stable condition | Hamilton sorry for lack of running »
The worst of times: officials are determined there will be no repeat of the shambles of 2000 © Sutton Images

Silverstone officials are bracing themselves for a miserable weekend as weather forecasters predict three days of torrential rain, with as much a month's rainfall possible over Friday and Saturday.

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips has sent out an email to all fans who have purchased tickets alerting them to the difficulties they may be faced with.

Ahead of the weekend there was heavy rain but the circuit's new drainage systems were able to cope. However, continued downpours will place the infrastructure under increasing strain and could leave the campsites, which hold around 16,000 spectators, completely waterlogged.

"We want to be responsible because we know there have been issues up and down the country at various events," Phillips said. "We're trying to pre-empt those issues. We want everyone to come and have a fantastic weekend, and that means putting contingency plans in place. Whether those plans are used or not will be reviewed, and they are reviewed every four hours. It's an ongoing process."

Over £1million has been spent on improved traffic management and car parking. Access roads have also been improved and tankers are on hand to mop up standing water. However, lengthily traffic jams on Friday morning stretched down the A43 - the main approach to the circuit - with back roads also clogged as fans aimed to arrive in plenty of time for first practice.

The Sauber F1 team Tweeted: "Heavy, heavy traffic to the track. Completely stuck on the A43. If you see Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi please let them pass...;-)"

Phillips is confident there will be no repeat of the farcical scenes of 2000, but he is making every attempt to ensure the 100,000 fans who are expected at Silverstone will be fully prepared.

"We've unprecedented numbers of people coming and so we need to make sure everybody has the best experience [and] we're communicating with the fans. Everybody who has booked with us will have received an email to keep them updated, with a further email due today.

"But if, at 5am tomorrow, we're in a situation where we have had a lot of overnight rain then we may have to take precautions to get the vehicles in. Formula One Management are co-operating, so they're on board, but it may be we have to do bumper-to-bumper car parking on the hardstanding areas."