Bumper F1 crowd see action on and off the track

Race fans invad pit straight for victory celebration - Picture by Jakob Ebrey
Race fans invad pit straight for victory celebration - Picture by Jakob Ebrey

A bumper Formula 1 crowd enjoyed a sun soaked and eventful British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit last weekend, while off the track police cracked down on tent thefts and alcohol sales to underage drinkers.

Circuit boss Richard Phillips said after last year’s quagmire the event was back to its best.

He said: “For us it’s all about the fans’ experience and I don’t think the event could have gone any better.”

Despite a slight fall in race day attendance, figures were still among the top three of all time with 294,000 visiting the circuit over the three days.

Mr Phillips said it was disappointing that a British driver had not made it to the podium but he was glad the factory workers from Mercedes in Brackley, and Red Bull in Milton Keynes had a chance to see their drivers make the top three.

Race winner Nico Rosberg joined British drivers Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Paul Di Resta and Max Chilton, plus a host of British motorsport legends and current F1 drivers, at Silverstone’s post-race Grand Prix Party on Sunday evening.

More than 18,000 fans stayed behind for the traditional post-race finale to hear from the drivers at the Grand Prix Party, which was free to all ticket holders.

Off the track Northants Police also reported an eventful weekend.

Over the three days 58 crimes were reported, and officers made 21 arrests.

Arrests included a 27-year-old man from Towcester and a 35-year-old man from Nottingham who were charged with drug offences. Three men and 17-year-old from Manchester were also questioned over tent thefts focused on the Woodlands Campsite, two men from Liverpool and two men from Milton Keynes were questioned in connection to vehicle crime, and a 35-year-old man from Doncaster was arrested on suspicion of a wounding offence and remains in custody.

In addition to three arrests for being drunk and disorderly, police were also forced to issue fixed penalty notices to several alcohol vendors caught selling to underage drinkers at the Woodlands Campsite, Hamilton Fields and the Litchlake site.

The event’s commanding officer, Superintendant Sean Bell said despite the arrests and fixed penalty notices, with nearly 300,000 visitors over three days, the British Grand Prix remained a low crime event, but added: “The test purchasing results were very disappointing. Certainly outside the circuit, on many of the campsites, there appeared to be little regard for the licensing laws that everyone else has to abide by.

“We will be speaking to the relevant premise licence holders regarding their training and procedures and will look to carry out a similar operation at next year’s event.”