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Wednesday, 26 April, 2000, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Silverstone washout: Should it be a summer event?
silverstone
Heavy rain caused chaos for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.

Formula One drivers have been left stuck in the mud on the track side and organisers banned spectators' cars from Saturday's qualifying drama as grass car parks turned into muddy swamps.

Fans, who paid up to £75 for a ticket, have criticised the controversial decision to switch the date of one of Britain's premier sporting events from mid-July to Easter.

Drivers and spectators had warned organisers that the decision to bring the event forward this year would increase the chances of bad weather.

What do you think? Should Silverstone be staged in the summer? Has the bad weather ruined the event for drivers and spectators?

HAVE YOUR SAY

Grand Prix in the wet is some of the best entertainment that can be had.

Andy, UK
Grand Prix in the wet is some of the best entertainment that can be had, and an excellent reason to hold the British GP in April. If Silverstone is unable to provide adequate facilities then the race should be moved. Can you imagine a football game being held at a venue with such appalling provisions? It's not even as if rain in July is that unheard of. Typical of the British, the slightest hint of rain or God forbid snow and the whole country shuts down.
Andy, UK

Come on Bernie, tarmac isn't THAT expensive. Poor show!
Annie, UK

Historically the UK's summer rainfall is roughly the same as that in the winter. The amazing thing is that F1 authorities never cared to plan rain at all!
Andy, UK

The British Grand Prix should be held at Brands Hatch in mid-summer and open to Formula 1 wheelchairs. Let's face it if they can take part in the London Marathon, 66 laps should be no problem. Half the cars are out of the race in five laps anyway. Isn't F1 boring?
D Clegg, U Kingdom

No, leave it where it now is. That means more people will come to see much more exciting sports, such as World Superbikes, in the summer. Imagine this, a motor sport with lots of overtaking, constant mid-corner dices and 4 or 5 bike dashes to the flag. Contrast THAT with the procession line that is the "greatest drivers in the world"!
Tommy Brown, Scotland

.

Why couldn't the FIA have rescheduled other GP's such as Austria and Spain instead of Britain?

Simon Porch, UK
Why have the FIA moved the British GP to mid-April? Everyone knows that the UK weather, at its best, has a temperate climate so the likelihood of rain is far greater in spring than in summer. I can understand that the FIA wants to incorporate races onto the F1 calendar in different countries such as Malaysia and the USA, but UK has a great motor-racing tradition and the British GP is one of the most important on the F1 calendar. Why couldn't the FIA have rescheduled other GP's such as Austria and Spain instead of Britain? After the events of this weekend, I hope that the FIA see sense and move this race back to its more sensible and traditional date of mid-July. It will save the FIA loads of hassle and not to mention money!
Simon Porch, UK

Rain in April in the UK is not exactly a surprise - and this didn't fall overnight - it took three weeks to get in that state. They should have prepared the car parks for wet weather long ago. If they can't, because of property owners' or local authority objections, then, quite simply, Silverstone is not a suitable venue for this event. For £160 a ticket, you do expect to be able to reach the circuit in comfort. Simple solutions, like a park and ride, would have transformed the position. Has nobody at the "Home of British Motorsport" ever heard of a bus? They shift volumes of people faster than helicopters. And they don't get fogbound. By dint of a £ 50 taxi ride on Saturday, and a 6-mile walk each way on Sunday, we saw the whole of the weekend's sessions, and had a great time. But next time - I'm for going to Magny-Cours! Silverstone 2000 - a tribute to a forgotten age of British amateurism!
Nick, UK

Thanks to the idiot who moved the British Grand Prix we were made to look a laughing stock in front of the world... The race worked fine in the summer but moving it to April was absurd. Anyone who lives here knows how wet it is in this country for at least three quarters of the year. A summer race gives us a chance for decent weather at least. When will these meddlers learn that "If it's not broken, don't try to fix it".
Will, UK



Pay for a Grand Prix ticket and sit on the mud in the rain ... Good old Britain, ah, how I don't miss it!

K. Jackson, USA
"Make do and mend" run on a shoe string budget while charging the earth for nothing. Pay for a Grand Prix ticket and sit on the mud in the rain. No where to park but miles away. Sit in a queue to get there for hours burning the most expensive petrol in the world.
You park for a large fee in some former rubbish tip. While your away some local, well known thief breaks into your car and steals what you have worked hard for making a great day out. Good old Britain, ah, how I don't miss it!
K. Jackson, USA

I would like to thank the man at the top for a good weekend. I spent it sat in my CAR outside Silverstone.
Mick, England

Thanks, Bernie, I hope you enjoyed your helicopter ride to and from the Silverstone Circuit. I wonder if you looked out of the window as you left and saw us plodding through the mud, our cars bogged down in "car-parks", and our money in your pocket...
Darrell Ingram, UK

When's summer? I'll mark that day on the calendar!
Malcolm McCandless, Scotland



The police response was as usual dire, directing traffic to an area where there was no parking.

Philip Levy, UK
I left at 11am from my house (Abington Northampton) and got to Silverstone at Midday. The traffic on the A43 was horrendous so I took the back roads which were totally clear up to 1 mile from track side. The police response was as usual dire, directing traffic to an area where there was no parking rather than to the miles of wide empty country lanes that could have been used.
Silverstone is losing the event anyway so no major changes will happen but in future if they ever get it again, Park and ride schemes should operate together with finding the dozen or so coppers from around the country with double figure brain cells to control the traffic flow. Mind you the police made it easier for me by keeping the back roads clear so thanks.
Philip Levy, Northampton UK,

Which bright spark thought it would be fun to hold the British Grand Prix in April? Obviously it was a man in a suit who's lived in Monaco for most of his life, and who has no concept of mud.
Katie, Northants, UK

It was not beyond the wit of man, and organisation for the problem to be foreseen. The mud was evident on Friday (probably earlier), and contingency transport plans made to shuttle fans from assembly points in towns/cities with (empty) car parks. The contingencies should be in place because UK weather is not predictable. The event is high profile and profitable enough to warrant such plans.
Mike Cain, UK



I eventually got to the gates of Silverstone at just after 2pm, 5 hours to get 4 miles.

Colin Logan, UK
I tried to attend the Grand Prix on Sunday and got within 4 miles of the circuit by 9am from the A40 approach road. There were thousands of disappointed spectators from all over Europe stranded in the mass of chaos. I eventually got to the gates of Silverstone at just after 2pm, 5 hours to get 4 miles. The event only holds 40,000 and they cannot cope, as do other major events such as football. In this case the venue is totally in the wrong place as three is no access to the parking. In my opinion Silverstone does not deserve our money when supplying poor filthy toilets debris and rubbish over flowing and no access. MOVE THIS EVENT TO SOMEWHERE WHERE THEY CARE!
Colin Logan, UK

Why do people always want to tamper with a working solution. For years the race was in summer, why the hell did they change it? Do you British not have statistics available? Statistics is that information that you gather over years to make meaningful decisions. Thank you for messing up a working solution, well done.
Philippus J.C. Schutte, New Zealand.

Well considering British Weather at this time of year, what do they expect!
Phil Hall, Northampton, UK

Event organisers who are supposed to know about things such as car parking, obviously didn't. The Silverstone Management must take the full blame for not laying down hardcore, or pierced steel planking. There had been plenty of time to realise what would be needed. Don't blame the F1 organisers - it is the fault of Silverstone who cannot escape responsibility.
Jack Harrison, UK

This is the first British GP that I have missed since 1988. Not only was the race too early in the year but there is no longer a roof on the main start line grandstand. It must be due to the lack of money in F1!
Robin Taylor, UK



Unequivocally, yes - it was a complete washout!

Ian Macfadyen, England
For those who purchased a ticket before the change, those camping out, those who missed the Saturday practice session and those stuck in horrendous mud, - unequivocally, yes - it was a complete washout!
Ian Macfadyen, England

There's nothing wrong with holding the race in the rain in April. Races in the rain as well as the sun can sort out the great drivers from the ordinary. The problem here is that, as usual, the British always try to do these things in the great amateur spirit instead of investing money in providing top class sports facilities with decent parking and/or decent public transport for the event.
Steve B, England

Bernie Ecclestone said that either the French or British Grand Prix had to be held this weekend and Silverstone lost out. Surely central France is a better bet for good weather at this time of year and politics and money were the deciding factors rather than common sense.
Colin McLaren, Scotland

British weather is well known for its unpredictability, and we spend most of the summer complaining how wet and cold it is, so it seems strange to hear people now saying how dry it's likely to be in June or July!! British people just like to complain about change, or anything really, and it's one of the many reasons I left the place where I was born and raised. I'll be watching the race on tv tomorrow, just as I have done for the past 40 years.
James Madison, US

Silverstone receives so much money from the Grand Prix each year that surely they can afford to build some decent tarmac car parks - then this problem would have been averted. Fortunately i'll be travelling to the GP by coach tomorrow!
Andrew , United Kingdom

A veritable disaster; but the weather in the UK is so very unpredictable.Sometimes Easter can be lovely.However, not this year. Summer might be better but again there is no guarantee for the weather, but taking everything into account, summer might be the better bet.
David C. Burton, USA

Would we have been slating the organisers of the London Marathon if it had been raining last Sunday? It is sheer bad luck rather than bad planning. What is madness, is how the sporting powers refuse to seriously address the provision of adequate wet weather facilities for the customer. Bernie et al are rich because of the generosity and enthusiasm of the fans. With all that money coming in, why can't they repay the customer with some respect, instead of keep ripping them off.
Sue, UK

It was a stunning act of buffoonery for the organisers to move the Brit GP to April! Maybe they should get people who have actually been outside more than once in their lives to choose dates for these events. Perhaps November could have been a worse choice, as there's a possibility of black ice and rain to confound things even more.
Mark Laurence Scott, Brit in the USA

I am so angry with the powers that be who decided that, after the majority of fans such as myself had already purchased their tickets, they would change the date to 23rd April! Of all days. Of course now the fan's been hit by something brown and sticky, nobody's admitting to making the uninspired decision. Let's hope whoever that person was, they're stuck in mud up to their knees pushing their vehicle out with everybody else. Oh, but I'm mistaken, helicopters don't get stuck in mud, do they? You would have thought Silverstone would have amassed enough profit by now to have afforded to make the car parks a little more solid wouldn't you? Anyway, I'll send them my dry cleaning bill.
Annette, UK

If transport is the issue then since most of the teams are based in the UK why not have it in Feb. Then there would be no worries about mud as it would be frozen.
Kevin, Yorkshire, UK.

The issue here is that the race on Sunday still promises to be a good one; come rain or shine. Logistical problems, such as parking, will have very little impact to the majority of genuine fans who cannot afford to attend every race on the calendar. I personally feel that Britain should have two GP's (ala Italy, France & Germany; Imola & Monza, Magny-Cours & Monte Carlo and Hockenheim and Nurburgring respectivly). Donnington Park has a fantastic motorsport heritage and I remember watching one of the most dazzling displays of recent times by Ayrton Senna - I think that race was run in April. As for Sunday, Go-Go Jenson.
Andy, UK

Sheer madness from a spectator's viewpoint. Traveling to and getting into trackside is no joke in the rain at Silverstone.
Philip Goodes, Australia

Stupid question by someoone who knows nought about car racing! Sillverstone is great fun!
Ian Alexander, Scotland

I think that the Grand Prix should be in the summer. I lived in England for all my life until I moved to the USA. I can't believe that people would think it was a good idea to put the Grand Prix in April!! Everyone knows it rains the most out of the year in April. I mean I hate it when, I the spectator, have to sit in the rain and watch racing and I have done it. It really does ruins your mood when everything (incluing the sandwiches) are wet. All you want to do is go home. There is also no where to sit because everyone in world is in the grand stand so that leaves the muddy embackments to sit on, and who really wants to sit on mud? The divers are not having much fun either I bet. I would feel rather unsafe in a car that went over 160mph when its dry, let alone when it tripping down with rain!!
Jennifer Lawrence, usa

I think what is happening at the British GP is disgusting. It is the fans who are paying for the rescheduling of the British GP to April. I was at the European GP at Donnington Park in 1993 which was also a sodden event. Surely the FIA know that the risk of running a Grand Prix in England at Easter time is not worth the risk weather wise for spectators and drivers alike. I really feel for the fans who paid a lot of money and were turned away from qualifying on Saturday - these days qualifying can be more interesting than the race itself. And why did authorities at Silverstone not take into acount that the parking facilities may turn into a mudbath for a race sceduled in April ? They knew the race date in advance !
Jim Hodges, USA

Is moving the Grand Prix a consequence of the "power struggle" over the venue for the event? Can Bernie Ecclestone now, with a clear conscience, remove the British Grand Prix from the calendar citing the problems this year? Politically, it was a smart move on his part, but the wider issue that he seems to have conveniently forgotten, is that he would be nothing today without the continued support of the legions of fans world-wide. This is still a sport for the entertainment of the paying public. Don't forget, Bernie, you wouldn't be worth Billions of pounds without us. Cut the fans a break, and use common sense when arranging the calendar next year! You'll be amazed at the power of lateral thinking.
Neil, USA

Did you ever hear such tripe !! So the poor hard up teams and hangers on with their mega-million budgets, can't afford a few bob to get from one euro venue to another - they've got to economise. Well my heart bleeds. Are they really trying to tell us there's any significant difference in the travelling costs or time to move the circus between any of the european venues? Pull the other one - if ever there was a hidden agenda. I thought holding the Malaysian GP during the monsoon was inspired - they got away with that one, so now its GB in our historically wet month. Of course it's the fans who suffer, walking from distant car parks in the pouring rain, forking out for taxis on top of the extortionate entry fees, and watching a lottery in the cold and wet. What's next - Melbourne in July?
Bernie Smith, UK

On the bright side, at least it didn't snow.
Mark, Australia

Of course it should be July. April is unfair on drivers, fans and all concerned.
John Richardson, UK/USA

Its no good blaming Bernie for this he has no power over the calendar. I think people should remember that Bernie sorted out the FIA/F1CA battle of the early 80's. Without him F1 wouldn't be like this. So don't blame Bernie for this. Think before you speak.
Paul Taylor, UK

Changing the date to April was just silly. The weather here is bad enough but to tempt fate is just bad planning. Change the date back to July for next year and all will be forgiven.
Lizzy Page, UK

It's always astonished me that the "home of British motor racing" is so unsuited to cars. Access to Silverstone is famously awful, and parking a joke. This weekend's misplaced farce just goes to show that motor racing should invest in the communities that it takes over for its annual jamborees.
Nick Sweeney, UK

The chance of a refund for Sunday would have been a good idea, at least we would have had the choice as to whether we attend or not. Due to the cost of tickets - £90 - we have no alternative but to try to find a parking space although we are now being told there are only 25% of the normal spaces available. Where are we supposed to park?
Elaine Donnison, England

Am I the only person who still thinks holding the GP in April is a great idea? When was the last time a dull race was run in the wet? Spa in '98? Spain in '96? Donnington Park in '93? Sure, it might be inconvenient for the hundred thousand intrepid fans visiting Silverstone this weekend - but for the millions of television viewers around the globe, this promises to be a great race.
Daniel, UK

Hey Bernie, I hope you have Noah's Ark ready.
Lito, United States

Britain is not spoilt with many sunny days in the year, why reduce the odds of a great day out by sticking it in April? This decision was flawed, and should be reverted ASAP.
Stephen Roberts, Greece

The British Grand Prix should be scheduled for August. It tends to have less rain than July and is more convenient for most families. When the British Grand Prix moves to Brands Hatch maybe the organisers will take heed from the mistakes made at Silverstone
Michael de Whalley, U.K.

Who remembers the European GP at Donnington? That race was a debacle. Why? Because the race was held in April. Murray Walker said then that running a Grand Prix in Britain in April was madness. To run the British Grand Prix, traditionally in July, firstly in April but at the Easter weekend is more than madness, it's certifiable. F1 bigwigs want to reduce the number of European races, is this move a cynical ploy to get rid of the British Grand Prix?
Alex Holden, UK

Ecclestone shrugs his shoulders and says: "This is the date it was scheduled for on the calendar and it could not have been avoided". Sure it could! Who in their right mind thought that having the British GP in April, on Easter weekend, would be a good idea? Did it not start any alarm bells ringing when the date was suggested? What was a great day out for F1 fans in July has now turned into a complete washout in April. So, fans will be refunded for their ticket cost. Who cares? It's the race they want to see. Possibly Ecclestone can get it right next year and insist on having the race in the summer!
Helen, NY, USA

Does it really matter ? Everybody knows F1 is a business and it stopped being sport a long time ago. More fool the people who continue to pay outrageous sums to support it. For the price of an F1 weekend ticket you can actually be taking part in club motorsport.
David Smith, UK but working in California

It's not the time of the season, its the organisation. Surely the owners of Silverstone know of the English weather, and make preparations, i.e. hard standing car parks.
Nick V, United Kingdom

Who really cares as long as Button wins.
Matthew Reddin, England

What a mess! If the FIA wanted to cut down on team transport costs, why on earth didn't they move on to Monaco from San Marino and then on to Barcelona. Not only would that have made much more sense geographically, but would have cut down the risk of a race being spoilt by rain. Monaco would indeed be much drier this time of the year (it's actually sunny and 18 degrees as I write this) and Silverstone would have a far higher chance of dry weather on June the 4th (the scheduled date for the Monaco GP). But of course, that would involve the organisers actually having the fans' interests in mind, rather than their petty politics, and would be too much to ask of them, wouldn't it?
Narius Aga, England

We really need to learn how to deal with the weather and sporting events in this country. Take Wimbledon for example, and that's in the summer. Paved parking areas which are used once in a blue moon are not the answer - better transport from the Milton Keynes and Northampton areas IS the answer. Use the car parks which already exist.
Martin, UK

The ideal compromise would have been to hold the race next Tuesday. EVERYONE knows that the day we return to work is always dry and sunny!
Robert, UK

The FIA moved the British Grand Prix to April just in case Schumacher breaks his legs again he would at least have a chance to come back and still have a shot at winning the Championship. Disqualifying Coulthard was just another step in what the FIA sees as the right direction. I seem to remember the FIA letting Schumacher off not so long ago.
Gordon Milnes, Scotland

April is always a wet month June/July is a much safer bet.
Les Samuels, Australia

I guess it's a case of we told you so Bernie.... then again he had his "reasons". Brands Hatch anyone?
Chris Ko, UK

G.P. should revert to its usual summer date.
Kathryn Cawood, England

There is a wider issue here than the rain. We all need to remember that the choice to move the race was not made by the BRDC, and they have tried to do what they can since. Let's recall that the BRDC funds all motorsport, and that's why they didn't pay £11m to match the offer to hold the GP made by Brands. This weekend will not help their cause. We need, as real fans of motorsport all year round - not just this weekend - to support the BRDC's efforts and remember that, whilst it's been a rotten GP weekend so far, future weekends depend on more than the weather!
John Clark, UK

Move the British GP back to June/July and rather hold a South Africa GP instead. At least the prospect of rain is diminished at this time of year and it would follow Oz and Brazil in a natural progression.
Tony Randell, South Africa

The event must be held in July as before. April in England is the worst month in Spring for weather.
Cullum, UK

Power Brokers 1 Motor Racing Fans 0. Whether it is Ecclestone to blame for changing the date or not, it seems to me that the real losers are the fans yet again. Forget tradition, forget the fans because in the end it's all about power and money. Even the weather this Easter weekend is in the corner of the Power Brokers.
Douglas Nelson, USA

So is the FIA going to compensate Silverstone Circuits for their losses. After all the main reason for moving the date was to save money on Team transport costs. Apparently.
Paul Sansom, UK

Ecclestone should remember that it is the fans that generate the money behind F1. This move to April is his punishment of the BRDC because they won't do what he tells them. However its the fans who lose out and now he threatens to take the races out of Europe because he is being told what to do. He should remember that the genesis of motor sport was just the ordinary guy who was a racing enthusiast. Ecclestone can take his overpriced kind of sport to Asia etc who have no tradition of motor sport. Then the Europeans can start again with proper formula that has racing for the fans and not just the people who just care about money.
Peter Hughes, UK

Water and rain have always been an issue in motor racing. I can remember many years ago marshalling at an Easter meet at Castle Combe circuit when the drivers were asked to take it easy in practice as the fire brigade were still pumping out the ditches. The organisers did not want anyone drowned! That being said which brainless idiot organised the most northerly of the F1 GP's to be run in April? I guess Mr Ecclestone and Co have never heard of March winds and April showers. There is, gentlemen, a world of difference between a wet track and a waterlogged circuit!
Phil, Malaysia

What a 'Made in Britain' shambles! With all the profits made in F1 Racing, why not have paved parking areas?
Alan Pittman, Canada

Moan, moan, moan, it wouldn't be a true British GP without the rain. Let's just get on with it and hope for an exciting race
Mark Dixon, France

As long as we have a grand prix, it doesn't really matter when it is. RYE has a point though - what if it snows? Would it be cancelled? All of the races have been dry so far, so a wet race will really shake the pack up. Personally, I hope that Frentzen will pull it out the bag for Jordan! Seriously, as long as the track is safe for the conditions, the date doesn¿t really matter.
Sheri, England

It's a pity that the rain has interfered with the practice, a pity that is for the spectators. There is never any guarantee about the weather which is why the drivers have wet tyres as well. I'm sure the rain will suit Ferrari.
Mike Harper, Gabon

Although it is a shame corporate bookings are down and they can't find a car park for the qualifying don't forget that it could quite easily rain in July! My main worry about keeping the Grand Prix in April would be that snow in April is not unheard of in England, even in the South. Mind you a wet race might be a bit more interesting as in my opinion Grand Prix races are turning into a procession and are getting very boring as overtaking only seems to occur in the pits.
R Y E, UK

Although I think Silverstone should be a summer event, the rain may at least inject some excitement into a sport in which the governing body has taken away so much mechanical grip that cars can't overtake each other on the track. In other motor sports the commentators can actually get excited about the racing rather than how many times the cars are going into the pits.
Ed Ryder, England

What a complete mess. It has been made all the more infuriating by the rumour that the date was switched by Bernie Ecclestone in a bid to put pressure on Silverstone and the BRDC during their negotiations with Brands Hatch and himself. It appears that this is all politics and the future of the British Grand Prix is at stake. I bet the British Grand Prix gets the biggest viewing figures for years because of this! Silverstone have clearly done all they can to accommodate for the conditions. All in all, it was highly predictable and I'm sure that even Bernie will try to get things sorted for next year.
Jonathan Bigger, Britain

Typical British. Despite their lousy climate, they still have no idea how to deal with the weather. They obviously made no plans to accommodate the possibility, almost a certainty, of rain. It reminds one of when it snows, the trains don¿t run because of 'wrong kind' of snow on the tracks. As long as they have a lousy transport system and the herd mentality reigns it is unavoidable that people will drive to the event. Despite, lets hope Schumacher does not win.
Dan, Germany, Germany

It's a shambles. The weather is more like January and most people had something to complain about. Although the wet weather can make the race more interesting most people would agree they'd rather be in front of their TV watching it and not at the circuit. If it was put back to July we'd have warmer weather and probably just as good a race as we would in April, but at least people will enjoy themselves more.
Darryl, UK

Yet another fine example of politics and money affecting the people that matter most, the fans.
David, England

It is part of the British summer (usually), and if it is raining at Easter then, as far as the drivers are concerned, then it could make for a much more interesting race. However, looking at the problems with the spectators not being able to park in the surrounding fields, then solely from the spectators point of view, then it would appear to present a greater risk to disrupting the event, and that can only be bad news for the event. My vote would be to make Silverstone a July event, so that the spectators can enjoy it all the more.
John Campbell, England

I recall, that when the date change was announced most people said a Grand Prix on a Easter weekend (as if there are not enough cars on the road) would mean chaos around Silverstone and of course it will rain, as it does on 99% of all Easter weekends.
James, UK

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22 Apr 00 | Motorsport
Grand Prix anger after mud chaos


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