Plans in place for a wet weekend at Silverstone

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Silverstone
Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber at Silverstone

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips has warned fans attending the British Grand Prix to prepare for a wet weekend, but contingency plans are in place.

The weather forecast for the area has suggested a month’s worth of rain could fall over the next two days - practice on Friday, when 80,000 fans are expected, and qualifying on Saturday, when 100,000 are due to cram the grandstands.

That has forced Silverstone to send out an email to all fans who have purchased tickets to prepare them for the difficulties they may be faced with.

Although an inch of rain fell on Silverstone overnight, drainage has so far coped, however, the expected deluges may potentially pose problems, in particular with regard to the campsites.

About 16,000 people are expected to camp within the official grounds around the Northamptonshire track, with a further 12,000 beyond that in other areas close by.

Within the circuit, though, there will be no repeat of the scenes witnessed at the grand prix in 2000 when the race was staged in April and heavy rain fell, resulting in fans pushing their cars out of mud.

Phillips concedes, however, every precaution is being taken as he said: “We want to be responsible because we know there have been issues up and down the country at various events.

“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 this year on traffic management and car parking, with the majority now hardstanding rather than grass.

Plant machinery is also currently on site, with 1100 tonnes of hardcore being put in place to aid roads into the car parks to keep them running, whilst tankers are on standby to pump up water.

Phillips added: “We’ve unprecedented numbers of people coming and so we need to make sure everybody has the best experience.

“So 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.

“We would rather do that to ensure people can get in and out of a car park, rather than skidding around on mud and having health and safety issues.

“The last thing we want are cars sliding into each other and people slopping around in water and mud and not having a good time.

“If that does happen, that is a process we will have to try and manage, but our main aim is to be prepared - like every good boy scout - and to do things the right way.

“Hopefully we won’t have to implement these things, but we just don’t know if the forecasted thunderstorms are going to hit us or not.”