Silverstone pledges improvements for 2013 British Grand Prix after weather chaos

Spectators make their way through the mud as they arrive for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit
Spectators make their way through the mud as they arrive for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit

Silverstone has pledged to improve transport, camping and car parks for the 2013 British Grand Prix after the weather-related chaos which blighted this year’s event.

Unprecedented levels of rainfall in the summer saw campsites closing, cars being abandoned on surrounding roads and ticket holders being asked to stay away on the Saturday to preserve and repair car parks.

The decision to limit attendance to the Northamptonshire circuit on the Saturday meant the race was watched by a record 127,000 crowd, and all fans were able to get in and out without problems.

Managing director Richard Phillips said lessons had been learned, and he had now unveiled plans which organisers hope will make using public transport a more viable option.

Silverstone will now run a park and ride service on all three days of the event, and will be introducing new pick-up and drop-off sites in Northampton and Turweston.

It will also be introducing a regular shuttle service from Milton Keynes, Northampton and Banbury railway stations, and Megabus will be operating a coach travel service from major UK towns and cities.

In addition to transport, circuit bosses are working to improve drainage on grass car parks, and also plan to increase the size of the official Woodlands campsite by 70 acres.

Mr Phillips said: “For more than 10 years now, fans have had little or no issue getting in and out of the circuit for the British Grand Prix, so it’s important to keep the problems of this year in perspective.

“That said, the traffic issues on the Friday of this year’s event, and having to ask a number of fans to stay away on the Saturday, were far from ideal. We have learned from this year’s experience and are taking steps to ensure we’re better equipped to deal with whatever the weather may throw at us in future.

“We are now seeing attendance figures exceed 80,000 on a Friday. We have been able to accommodate these numbers in the past, but this year’s torrential weather, waterlogged campsites and saturated car parks created a ‘perfect storm’ of unforeseeable issues.

“Ironically, prior to this year’s vent we had identified the need, and had been working on plans, to start reducing the number of people driving to the event. It will take time to change the mindset of fans, but we need to ensure that public transport is available as a comfortable and reliable option.”

The 2013 British Grand Prix will take place over the weekend of June 28 to 30, slightly earlier than its traditional date.