Success for British Grand Prix despite a wet start

Scenes from the British Grand Prix 2012 at Silverstone. Race winner Mark Webber and second place Fernando Alonso
Scenes from the British Grand Prix 2012 at Silverstone. Race winner Mark Webber and second place Fernando Alonso
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Thousands of racing fans turned out to watch Red Bull driver, Mark Webber, win the British Grand Prix on Sunday, despite a soggy start to the weekend.

From Friday, heavy rain left many of the circuit’s car parks waterlogged and on Saturday, racegoers were being turned away and ticket holders were being urged not to attend qualifying due to muddy conditions.

Start of the British Grand Prix. Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Start of the British Grand Prix. Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Campsites were also full early and people who hadn’t already arranged a place to camp found it almost impossible to find somewhere to stay.

A Facebook site was set up by Towcestrians Rugby Club called Help Get The Fans to Silverstone in a bid to connect local people around Silverstone with parking or camping space on their drives or in their gardens with racegoers trying to get to the grand prix.

Mini and junior chairman Crispin Slee said on the site: “No one wants anyone to miss out on the big race itself. There must be acres of space in the gardens of local people where ticket holders could either park or camp.

“We’re very proud to have Silverstone on our doorstep. We want to help them in their hour of need and demonstrate that the great British spirit is alive and well in south Northants."

But despite Saturday’s wet conditions, around 127,000 fans turned up to watch the race on Sunday, a record for the circuit.

Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “Given the extreme weather conditions and position we found ourselves in on Friday, I don’t think Sunday could have gone much better. The sun shone, we had a great race, a popular winner and I’m delighted that we were able to get all the fans in and out of the circuit. There were some unavoidable delays but, on the whole, we managed to keep everyone moving safely.

“The fans really have been incredible; they make the British Grand Prix and are truly exceptional. I’d like to thank every single one of them for their continuing support over what was a trying weekend. We had to make some difficult decisions on Friday, but they turned out to be absolutely the right decisions. Limiting the number that travelled to the circuit by car on Saturday enabled us to work through Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night to ensure that we were in better shape for Sunday to get everyone into Silverstone for the main race. It was an incredible effort by all the staff here.”

After the race, more than 22,000 stayed behind to continue the post-race celebrations and hear from drivers at the Grand Prix Party, which was free to ticket holders.

British drivers Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Paul Di Resta joined a host of British motor sport legends.

Fellow F1 drivers Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Verne and Nico Hulkenberg also made appearances on stage, along with Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, former World Champion Damon Hill, BRDC president Derek Warwick and BBC presenters Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan.

The circuit will be reviewing the weather-related issues leading up to, and during this year’s British Grand Prix. The circuit will shortly be letting people know the next steps for those fans who experienced difficulties over the weekend.