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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Your verdict on Silverstone
British Grand Prix chief Rob Bain quits his post after criticism of the event by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

Were the facilities up to scratch?

HAVE YOUR SAY

The roads around Silverstone underwent extensive improvements to ease the perennial problem of traffic jams, but Ecclestone criticised the organisation of the public inside the circuit.

He also encountered problems arriving at the circuit - his helicopter had to delay landing because of mid-air congestion.

But sports minister Richard Caborn, Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn and former world champion Sir Jackie Stewart have leapt to Silverstone's defence, and Caborn remains confident that it will retain its place on the F1 calendar.

Were you at Silverstone on Sunday? And if so, what did you think of the facilities on offer?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.


The British Grand Prix was a farce, and although the rain added to the spectacle, the unpredictable British weather has all too often hit the event, and it's time it was dropped from the GP calendar. More exotic locations like China and Russia have greater appeal, and should be given a chance to show what they can do.
Harris C, UK

I've been going to the GP at Silverstone for 10 years, and this was by far the best - both in terms of the racing and the access. I was home near Reading 65 minutes after getting in my car - two minutes longer than it took to get there at 7.00am on Friday!

What Bernie said was totally out of order. I've been to other GP tracks, and they all have problems of different sorts. Silverstone is just as good as most, and better than many.
Francis Newman, UK


If Bernie Eccelstone had come in through the front entrance like everyone else he would have seen how much had been achieved
S Brettle, UK

Silverstone on Sunday was my first ever Grand Prix, and I thought it was fantastic! It was Well organised, there were no traffic problems and I had a wonderful day.

Yes, the signposting inside could be better, but it takes a special kind of idiot to lose their way to the Paddock after attending as many events at Silverstone as Bernie Ecclestone! He obviously felt the need to prevent any kind of embarrassment to himself, so he blamed Octagon.
Sandra Phillips, UK

There was a lot less atmosphere this year - partly due to the weather and the smaller crowds. However, I was very impressed with the improvement in facilities. I drove out of the gates and straight out onto the dual carriageway without hitting any traffic - a definite improvement as far as I'm concerned and I'll be there again next year.
Rachel Porteous, England

If Bernie Eccelstone had come in through the front entrance like everyone else he would have seen how much had been achieved, and been able to find his way around easily.
S Brettle, UK

I really don't think Rob Bain should have resigned over what was effectively a childish outburst, but fully understand his frustration at Ecclestone's comments after all the excellent work by Octagon to improve access and facilities at the Silverstone Circuit.


I found the facilities within the circuit to be good, and certainly comparable with other large sporting venues
Charlotte Kelly, UK

I honestly believe that Bernie Ecclestone would have found fault with the event whatever happened, as his dislike of the place is no secret. I'm not a motorsport fan by any means, but as a local resident I understand the importance of the industry to the area and appreciate the impact that losing the GP will have on many local jobs and connected industries.

Moreover, I have always been impressed by the generosity of the teams and the circuit in their association with the local schools in Silverstone, which will in turn also suffer if the FI focus is diverted away from the area.
Louise Gough, UK

Silverstone was my first Grand Prix and I had a great time. I travelled by coach from London, and the coach park was five minutes walk from one of the gates. I found the facilities within the circuit to be good, and certainly comparable with other large sporting venues. Getting out in the evening was a case of slow but steady progress, and the routes north and south were clearly differentiated.

Bernie Ecclestone's comments could be seen as a fit of pique because his helicopter was delayed by low cloud and so he had to travel by road - perhaps he is blaming the organisers for the British weather!

By the way, the GP and the supporting races were great - isn't that what really matters?
Charlotte Kelly, UK


Silverstone is a fantastic track - just ask the drivers and numerous teams who have their factories nearby
Al, UK

It was the best Grand Prix in terms of traffic management I have ever experienced, and I feel sure the further improvements will help bring Silverstone up to date. Rob Bain should be asked to return - by Bernie Ecclestone. Bernie was just annoyed because he got lost inside the complex. How come no one else got lost?
Mirko Sidoli, England

I'm afraid I agree with Bernie Ecclestone. Getting in the circuit was fine and leaving was okay - until everyone got two miles up the road. Then the traffic comes to a complete standstill. It seems to me they have just moved the jams two miles away from the first exit.
S Colls, England

What is Ecclestone bleating about? Monaco is a nightmare when it comes to getting in and out of Monte Carlo. No doubt he takes the helicopter out, unlike the rest of us who have to queue to get up the hill and on to the Autoroute.

Perhaps he just got out of bed on the wrong side. Silverstone is a fantastic track - just ask the drivers and numerous teams who have their factories nearby.
Al, UK

This year was 100% better the queues I experienced last year. The park and ride service was also very well organised.
Laura Cawley, Lancashire

This is the first year I have returned home straight after the race rather than on Monday. Traffic was sluggish, but only an extra hour was added to my journey. Well done Silverstone, and let's keep the British GP!
Mandy Ruckledge, England


Bernie is being incredibly harsh towards the British Grand Prix and should give credit where credit is due
Vikki Robbins, England

The traffic was much improved this year. It was rather ironic, though, that given the great fuss made about the new access road, traffic approaching Silverstone from the South was routed along the old roads. It appears that the new dual carriageway was only used for "important" traffic such as VIPs.
Adam Heath, UK

I was at the GP all weekend and have nothing but praise for the event. It took no longer than 45 minutes for me to get in and out, and I found my grandstand very easily. Keep Silverstone going, as a great weekend was had by all.
Kevin, UK

Poor old Bernie. First of all God didn't make the weather nice enough for him to land his helicopter, then he - no sorry his driver - got all confused with the signs to the site. Ah didums. Alas, someone lost their job because of his little tantrum. Everyone complains that F1 is boring, so come on Bernie, are you going to resign?
Jayne, UK

It was a fantastic race at a fantastic circuit. We had no trouble at all in getting in and out of the circuit, and navigating around Silverstone was also very easy.

I think that Bernie is being incredibly harsh towards the British Grand Prix and should give credit where credit is due. They have made amazing steps forward since the 2000 Grand Prix.
Vikki Robbins, England


I was at the GP all weekend and have nothing but praise for the event
Kevin, UK

Rather than unfairly bashing Silverstone, Bernie Ecclestone should be far more concerned with why his championship is thoroughly boring. As for Silverstone itself, Mr Ecclestone should target his wrath at the bland circuits like the Hungaroring and leave the truly exciting tracks alone.
Allister Webb, England

With regard to the government putting money into Silverstone, yes they should - the race brings more money into the country than they do. And as far as Ecclestone, it is about time he went - if he gets lost in Oxfordshire then he would stand no chance in China.
P. Grantham, UK

Yes, go on, pour millions of taxpayers money into Silverstone and then Ecclestone will spit the dummy and give the Grand-Prix to someone else - just like he did to Adelaide.
Mal Walker, Australia

If the Government is willing to spend £1bn on a Dome in London and £60m on a national stadium in London, why not spend a quarter of that on the surrounding Infrastructure for our premier motorsport venue? That would leave Octagon to concentrate on the inside of the circuit.

Having said that, I'm not sure what Bernie was rabbiting on about. As a first-timer at Silverstone, I was impressed with the traffic arrangements and directional signs. We seemed able to find our way round the circuit okay (thanks to large maps every so often) and enjoyed a superb race.


There is plenty of money in F1; it's just not being distributed correctly
Baz, UK

It certainly compared favourably to Barcelona, and had about ten times more atmosphere - even with the crowd limited to 60,000.
Mark, Scotland

Why should Silverstone need our cash to survive as an F1 circuit? There is plenty of money in F1; it's just not being distributed correctly. There are many race teams out there struggling to survive, yet Bernie Ecclestone is one of the richest men in the world. He could bail them all out and not know he'd paid it, so why should public money be used?
Baz, UK

Of course the government should plough as much money as is required to turn Silverstone into one of the best motor racing venues in the world. But they won't, because that would result in the usual, boring 'public outcry' by that section of the country who moan whenever government money is spent on anything other than hospitals, nurses pay etc.
Andy Hutchcraft, UK

Silverstone charges enough to get in; it should have enough money to pay for the rebuilding without any help. But let's face it we're not going to pay any higher for a ticket. They've reached the top of the ladder in that respect.
Bob, UK


At Silverstone a service area with large truck stop area and hotels should be built
Chris Ward, UK

As a tax payer I'd rather my money go to something I might benefit from, such as the NHS. I'll never get to see a race live as it's so extortionately priced so what country the race is in means nothing to me. I'll be watching on TV hoping for a good race. Silverstone's not the most interesting track (though not the worst) so if F1 leaves Britain who cares?
Matt Takaira, England

How about the government investing in Donington? It's a far better circuit, it's in a better location, and has far superior transport links.
Gary Newham, UK

The improvements to the A43 are just that, they do not accommodate the extra traffic for the Grand Prix. What is needed is a three lane motorway running from the M5/M50 junction via Banbury, Silverstone and Northampton, to join the A1 near Peterborough.

At Silverstone a service area with large truck stop area and hotels should be built. During race weekends, the truck stop area would be closed to trucks and become a car park with direct pedestrian access to the circuit. It's called doing the job properly.
Chris Ward, UK

I love F1 and have done for over 20 years, but should F1 get government funding? This is a multi-billion pound business, why? The question is better put, should the fans get government funding in order to afford tickets to a sport they are being financially pressured out of attending?
Carl Williams, England/Canada


Check out prices to go to GPs in other countries and see the difference!
Barry Dyke, UK

If the only way for the UK to retain one of the Formula One GP's then it is important that the government funds the road and rail network infrastructure to ensure that teams, supporting organisations and spectators have easy and speedy access to the GP Circuit. This will be of benefit to all the public travelling in or through the area at all times.

It is important to retain an International GP Circuit as Formula One and its spin offs provide high tech employment in the UK and a positive export contribution to the UK economy. Jobs are subsidised throughout the EU. If it means the only way to retain these jobs in the UK is to provide a subsidy for the improvement of Silverstone GP Circuit then this should be done. Compared with Wembley this is small fry. So go on pull out the stops and let us have the best GP Circuit and testing track in Europe.
Stuart Allan, England

I stopped going to the British GP some years ago. I was never happy with the view at Silverstone as opposed to Brands, and when Silverstone got the exclusive contract the prices started rising rapidly.

It has always annoyed me that an event that is paid for mainly by sponsorship should charge the fans so much, entry fees are mostly pure profit. They say they need the money to continually upgrade, but I believe the latest upgrade was in the region of £6m. 60,000 people through the gates at £95 plus the charges for the various grandstands come to a lot more than that! Check out prices to go to GPs in other countries and see the difference!
Barry Dyke, UK

I don't think the event itself should receive direct funding, but I think that the government should invest money in providing a decent infrastructure around the track to allow the thousands of fans to get there with ease. This is surely the government's responsibility anyway.

This wouldn't only benefit F1, but the many other motorsport events held there around the year that don't have the millions to spend that F1 does.
Joe, UK

Absolutely not; Bernie Ecclestone effectively owns F1 and is not strapped for cash. Let him fund his own business, wherever it takes place. If the teams aren't strong enough to tell him where GPs should take place, then there's something wrong with the sport, and perhaps it doesn't deserve to survive.
Dave Kent, UK

Whatever the outlay required, support should be forthcoming from F1 and local or national government. Tradition seems to be low on the scale these days, but remember Silverstone is the spiritual home of F1 Grand Prix, and has been since 1950.


Ecclestone is effectively selling GP slots to the highest bidder, further discrediting this tainted sport
Claire Stocks, UK

Britain is home to a majority of F1 teams and most of the research, development and engineering is carried out in Britain. Don't let all this expertise go abroad again!

Come on British F1 fans - support your home Grand Prix! Lobby your MP for support! Give Sir Jackie Stewart the support he needs to keep the British GP where it belongs - at Silverstone!
John MacDonald, Portugal

No way! Silverstone is undoubtedly one of the blandest and most boring circuits in the world. If anyone thinks they would miss it they should hop over to Spa for the Belgian GP and see what an F1 circuit should really be like. If Silverstone can't stand on its own two feet, then tough.
Phil, England

No way. Ecclestone is effectively selling GP slots to the highest bidder, further discrediting this tainted sport.
Claire Stocks, UK

F1 is more of an industry than a sport - full of political intrigue and glamour that keeps millions of people glued to the TV, and no doubt provides plenty of work. The racing is rubbish of course, as only one team can make a car go fast and not break down at the same time. Is there not enough money in F1 already?
Mark Constable, UK


The F1 calendar is getting bigger and somewhere has to go - unfortunately, I think that may be Silverstone
Jenny, England

Perhaps if Bernie Ecclestone upped his donations to the Labour Party then President Blair might be more willing to waste taxpayers money on this dullest of "sports"
Andy Shanks, UK

Why not? Almost every other country on the calendar receives government backing, and if ours can afford to waste hundreds of millions on a new football stadium, the £65m that Silverstone is after (paid at £8m a year) is small change when one considers the impact on the British economy if we didn't have the Grand Prix.
Andrew Robson, United Kingdom

The government should give Silverstone some money, as it has to many other sports (athletics, rugby and rowing have all had money given to them). Silverstone helps the local economy provides employment to people in the area.

If Silverstone is not careful we will lose out to countries such as Russia and Egypt, who would all love the chance to hold one. The F1 calendar is getting bigger, and somewhere has to go. Unfortunately, I think that may have to be Silverstone.
Jenny, England


With the recent race-fixing and general lack of entertainment value, F1 has to do something itself to restore public interest
Richard Philips, UK
No, under no circumstances should the government give money to retain the British GP. With 3/4 of the grid made up of British based teams surely they hold all the power in any future decision? The UK teams should just get together and tell the governing body there will be a British GP and if they don't like it, tough.
Dave Cox, UK

I don't think Silverstone should receive a government bail-out. It is an established site holding multiple events with a largely captive audience of regular die-hards prepared to pay the extortionate prices charged.

Octogan (who also own many other GB circuits) should have the knowledge and experience to finance any proposed improvements. It seems that both the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are free to remove an event at will anyway, so there is no guarantee that it would remain on the F1 agenda.

With the recent race-fixing and general lack of entertainment value, F1 has to do something itself to restore public interest. If the fans don't come there won't be a need for Silverstone. Did Rockingham receive a government grant?
Richard Philips, UK

The only support that should be given by the government is for the funding of a better road system around the circuit. Like other sports it should be self financing and the F1 teams should put money into the circuit rather than paying their drivers ridiculous amount of money.
Martin, England


This vacuous, unhealthy, and environmentally damaging apology for a sport has no claim on government funding
Andrew, UK

As someone who detests practically everything about Formula One, let me see if I have got this right. A sport, apparently only open to competitors from rich backgrounds, who are happy to reside in tax havens (David Coulthard, Jenson Button), who are regularly paid £5,000,000 a year but only manage to finish a few races a year (Eddie Irvine), where the cheapest ticket for the race in England costs £125, run by a "supremo" who recently invested £700,000,000 in an offshore trust fund in his wife's name, to avoid paying too much tax in the UK, where he owns one of the most expensive houses in the land, who is dropping heavy hints that the taxpayer should bale the sport out.

I have always maintained that the rich do not pay their fair share in tax and for a minority sport like F1, whatever their fans claim, it is nothing short of an outrage that the thought has even crossed anyone's mind that my hard-earned cash should prop up a few spoilt rich kids and tax-dodgers.
Phil, UK

This vacuous, unhealthy, and environmentally damaging apology for a sport has no claim on government funding. Its donations to the Labour Party do not alter the facts. Millions are invested in the hardware, it has considerable advertising revenues, yet it is supported by a vanishing number of spectators.

If a single penny of my taxes is wasted on this venture, I will take it as proof positive that this government is corrupt and vote accordingly at the next election.
Andrew, UK

I say pay up Blair! Whether you are an admirer or an adversary of the sport, there is no denying the large impact of an event like a Formula One race on both local and national economies as well as on a country's image.

I think that the negative effects of losing a sporting event of such a magnitude outweigh the pain of the investments that have to be made to secure a Formula One GP for the UK.
Rob Zijlstra, Netherlands

Non-motorsport people forget one important factor in this debate. Motorsport provides more jobs and aids the UK economy more than any other sport in the country, football included.

The damage would resonate more with the loss of the British Grand than with any football clubs going bankrupt, and the automitove industry and F1 are more closley linked than people realise. To save the British Grand Prix would be to save jobs.
Stephen Higgins, UK

In-depth guide to the 2002 Formula One season

On-track action

Our man at Silverstone

Jonathan Legard

F1 2002
See also:

04 Jul 02 | Formula One
04 Jul 02 | Formula One
13 May 02 | Formula One
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