Silverstone organisers facing backlash

Frustrated fans asked to stay away on Saturday

Last Updated: 07/07/12 9:34am

Traffic was jammed for miles around Silverstone on Friday

The scene outside the circuit

The scene inside the circuit

The scene inside the circuit

Silverstone race organisers have been savaged by press and punters alike after Friday's day of chaos ended with circuit authorities pleading with fans to stay away.

While those specators who gained access to the circuit suffered the frustration of seeing drivers complete just a handful of laps due to the treacherous conditions, thousands more endured hours of queues as seemingly endless miles of traffic snagged behind a roadblock of closed campsites.

On Friday night, up to around 30,000 fans were effectively asked to stay away, with circuit officials requesting spectators who are planning to use the public parking facilities at Silverstone not to attend.

It is a dire and unprecedented situation that has drawn a withering response from the British media.

'Organisers appeared to have little regard for the people who had paid to watch their race. At the end of a day of disorganised insanity that shamed British sport, campers were told via Silverstone Radio that due to waterlogged conditions they were being evacuated. Though they had paid for their sites, they were blithely advised either to go home or make alternative arrangements for the evening,' thundered The Independent.

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According to The Daily Mail, the state of chaos is Silverstone's 'biggest crisis in 12 years', while The Times describes 'a stand-off as campers with tickets refused to obey police orders to turn around and go home as campsites that had turned into quagmires were closed.'

Nobody, it seems, was immune from the frustration: Bernie Ecclestone was advised not to attempt to reach the circuit in his chauffeur-driven limousine. But spare a thought for the German visitor listed in The Times as setting 'an unenviable and traumatic record: more than six hours from his hotel in Northampton, a meagre 14 miles away'.