• British Grand Prix

Thousands miss out after Silverstone traffic chaos

ESPN Staff
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The campsites had been reduced to areas of mud from early on Friday © Getty Images

Silverstone organisers have warned fans heading to the track this weekend to expect considerable delays. On Friday thousands were left queuing to get in after being stuck in massive traffic jams and a full investigation into what went wrong has been promised.

Heavy rain throughout this week left many areas waterlogged and this meant areas which would have normally been used for camping and parking were closed, leading to the traffic chaos. The situation was exacerbated by thousands of campers arriving without having made advanced reservations and being turned away.

Late on Friday the organisers said they were "dissuading fans from coming to the event tomorrow if you have a public car pass, those with park and ride and are camping will be fine ... we will be refunding people with unused Friday and Saturday tickets the details of how to do this will be communicated to you early next week."

"It's a nightmare," Katie Tyler, Silverstone's head of communications, was quoted by Autosport. "With the British Grand Prix, we spend a lot more on traffic management, but even so, if you have a block with cars not being able to get to camping sites. We know we've got a problem, we know it's serious.

"The problem is that the campers are turning up at their campsites and being turned away because of the ground. The farmers who own the private campsites and our own official one - Silverstone Woodlands - are saying; 'We can't take any more, we're going to relocate you'. Local radio and Silverstone radio are putting that message out, to say 'if you haven't booked, don't turn up'."

The deluge promised by the Met Office on Friday duly arrived and it is possible more grass areas will have to be shut over the weekend with more rain predicted.

"We've the best people on the job, and we're doing all we can, with people discussing what we do tonight and tomorrow," Tyler said. "One of the key decisions is getting the people waiting to get into campsites relocated, and then how we get the campers on to site tomorrow morning. If we get more rain we have to be honest about it, it will be slow and there will be problems. We are looking at all sorts of alternatives.

"We need to look into all the factors and what we can do to minimise something like this happening again. Worst case scenarios are planned for, but at the end of the day we are surrounded by fields, and the cost of tarmacing the whole site is not feasible.

"What's so frustrating, that we'd almost got over the hangover of 2000. It seems we're about to go through it again, certainly with today happening."

© Getty Images