Silverstone boss offers “unreserved apology”

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Silverstone boss Richard Phillips apologises for the traffic chaos during yesterday’s practice session.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Silverstone relives nightmare of 2000 (Reuters)

Silverstone CEO Richard Phillips: “‘Our ultimate aim now is to try and preserve as much as we possibly can for Sunday,’ he told reporters, explaining half the public car parks had been lost to the weather and offering an ‘unreserved apology’ to fans.”

Byron Young via Twitter

“Never seen Silverstone CEO Richard Phillips so shattered, Brave call to stand up and face the world.”

F1 fans face a repeat of 2000 chaos as rain puts strain on Silverstone (The Guardian)

Silverstone director of communications Katie Tyler: “We try to plan for every scenario but at the end of the day we are surrounded by fields and the cost of tarmacing the whole site is not feasible. A lot of the fields are historical and ancient ground which you can’t tarmac. We know we’ve got a problem and we know it’s serious.”

Ian Parkes via Twitter

“People wondering why traffic is so bad, highest ever Friday attendance today of over 80,000. More than most other GPs get on a Sunday.”

Mika Gascoyne via Twitter

“Seven hours driving in and out of Silverstone today. So sorry for all the fantastic supporters of F1 out there today but I shared your pain.”

Button: Silverstone race could be off (The Telegraph)

“You wouldn’t want to be racing in those conditions. There’s a lot of standing water. You have to memorise where the rivers are. One of the worst is the Hangar Straight before Stowe at 290kph, suddenly you cross a river which gives you wheel spin and at that speed it can snap out of control easily. If it is like this in qualifying [the session] will go ahead because it’s one car at a time. I don’t think we would want to race in those conditions.”

Lewis: I’m staying (The Sun)

“The 2008 world champion is believed to have been offered a new five-year deal worth around 100m.”

Sound familiar? Perhaps you remember this story from last May.

Webber unsure of Red Bull future but keen to carry on racing (Daily Mail)

“So for next year there is a pretty decent chance I’ll be racing in Formula One – let’s see, come November, who it is with.”

Horner: RBR no scapegoat in costs row (Autosport)

“It’s very easy to portray Red Bull as the blocker or the scapegoat, but all we want is to ensure that we’re not disadvantaged through the process. We are just a race team: we do not manufacture road cars, we don’t manufacture other automotive technologies, we don’t manufacture Formula 1 engines. We just want to make sure that whatever is agreed going forward is balanced.”

British Grand Prix 2012: Friday Review, Saturday Forecast (F1 Weather)

“Looking ahead quickly to Sunday – several teams are predicting a doomsday scenario similar to today’s weather. This was based on a large system that is set to move up the eastern side of England during the afternoon. Latest indications are that this is no longer a feature and we’ll be left with the ‘chance of developing showers’ scenario through humidity and storm development, rather than any established system that would cross over Silverstone and dump an inch or more of rain.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“The UK government does nothing for the GP yet David Cameron is happy to go on Sky and bask in reflected glory of British teams’ success. ”

Comment of the day

Bpacman was one of several fans who suffered the weather and traffic problems at Silverstone:

We pulled off the M1 at 8:40am and then sat in a queue waiting to park until nearly 11.45am – missed the entire first practice. At least we got into the International Pits stand in time to see the chaos of the final corner in GP2 free practice! Still it sounds like some people had it a lot worse.

When we left the circuit, it took roughly one hour to get from the car park to the A43. As we exited the circuit we could see that a lot of people had simply abandoned their cars on the roadside on the way in. There also still seemed to be a queue on the side of the A43 heading into the circuit…

I’m planning to get to Northampton Park and Ride for 7am tomorrow – hope that’s early enough!

If you’re at this weekend’s race you can find other fans who are here:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher won his seventh race out of ten in the 2002 season at Silverstone.

Bridgestone intermediates were the best tyres to have when a rain shower hit the track early in the race. Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya was the only Michelin-shod runner to score points.

He finished third behind the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello, who had to start from the back after he failed to get away at the start.

Here’s the start of the race:

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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33 comments on “Silverstone boss offers “unreserved apology””

  1. “It’s very easy to portray Red Bull as the blocker or the scapegoat, but all we want is to ensure that we’re not disadvantaged through the process. We are just a race team: we do not manufacture road cars, we don’t manufacture other automotive technologies, we don’t manufacture Formula 1 engines. We just want to make sure that whatever is agreed going forward is balanced.”

    And yet somehow, I just can’t bring myself to believe a word of this.

    1. Yes, but can you offer any proof to support your dis-belief.

      1. I’ll need to see some proof of your doubt of his dis-belief before I believe that!

      2. When Christian Horner challenged the legality of Mercedes front wing F-duct in Malaysia, he said he was asking for a “final ruling” one way or the other on it. The FIA looked at it, and said that it was legal. However, three weeks later in China, Horner was once again questioning the legality of the car. This is despite having already asked the FIA for a “final ruling” on the device.

        The use of the phrase “final ruling” in Malaysia is an interesting one, because it openly implies that whichever way the FIA ruled on the front wing F-duct, Horner would accept the decision and consider the matter closed, and that there would be no further challenges. However despite this, Horner reneged at the very next race, once again demanding that the FIA investigate the parts. He effectively said “this is the last time we will challenge it”, and then broke his own word by challenging it again.

        So if he can’t keep his word on if and when he will challenge a rival’s designs, how can he be trusted when he says “Red Bull only want what is fair”, especially given that – if reports are to be believed – everyone else has already agreed to the terms being offered and Red Bull and Toro Rosso are the only teams digging their heels in?

        1. That is a good illustration of one of the reasons I always groan whenever BBC or Sky have an interview with Horner @prisoner-monkeys; sometimes what he says adds something, but often it either doesn’t, or what he says is so unlikely to be true that it is useless to fill air-time with it.

          Though his interview yesterday saying he didn’t think himself able to fill Bernie’s shoes was apt, even if I was baffled that rumour even started!

          1. @bosyber – I think Christian Horner is a little too smooth for his own good. He always has an answer ready, and he’s always very quick to give it. I think he has a habit of telling people what they want to hear, and bending it ever-so-slightly so that it has some sembalance of truh to it. For example, Red Bull Racing is indeed a racing team; if they do not race, then they don’t really exist. And yet Horner manages to conjure up an image of an amateur team run by a group of enthusiasts, the plucky underdogs who manage to take the fight to the slick and ultra-professional manufacturer teams through a combination of dedication, bravado and raw, unbridled talent. And maybe they were, once – they were the team with the rock-star mentality, who wore Superman capes and jumped into swimming pools fully-clothed to celebrate their successes. But that image of David-and-Goliath privateers armed only with elbow grease and nerve does not fit with the current reality: a racing team backed by a commercial juggernaut that spends millions of dollars on top-line talent.

            In short, I think Christian Horner is a little bit of a snake oil salesman.

          2. @prisoner-monkeys yep. I won’t rule out they feel a bit like it still internally, but the fun stuff isn’t really them any more; they have races and WDCs to win now.

    2. I don’t believe it either. There’s only two teams that manufacture road cars and engines in F1 so I’d think there would be more teams on side with Red Bull if this was a valid point.

      1. Most of the other teams can only dream of being 3rd. best so possibly are more concerned about the cost of being average than they are concerned about being in the top 3.

      2. There’s only two teams that manufacture road cars and engines in F1

        Red Bull essentially have three main rivals in F1, 100% of which manufacture road cars and engines. Seems pretty clear to me that allowance needs to be made for this in framing any agreement in cost control since those others may be able to benefit from relevant research and development at a cost of zero.

      3. 5 teams actually.

    3. @prisoner-monkeys I sort of get where he’s coming from but I need more detail about what exactly the RRA is proposing and then how that can disadvantage RBR more than anyone else.

      1. @andrewtanner – The only major change that I can discern (there may be more, but if there are, I can find no references to them) is a proposal to have the FIA police the RRA. Previously, the teams simply agreed among themselves to uphold the agreement, and took each other at their word, but under the proposal, the FIA will have the power to enforce it. If this is the only change being put forward, it kind of makes you wonder why Red Bull are so reluctant to sign up. There have already been accusations of misbehaving under the RRA last year (like the development of the flexing splitter that passed all of the FIA weight tests), so this only makes me even more suspicious. We have seen Red Bull cleverly step around certain rules before – like when they outsourced their design of their cars to the “Red Bull Technology Centre” design studio, which allowed them to have Toro Rosso run customer cars because Red Bull Racing technically never built the cars they raced; that was all done by the studio – so they may well have found a way around the RRA that would allow them to spend what they liked whilst technically honouring the agreement, but by allowing the FIA to police the RRA, they could get caught and penalised severely.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys That would make sense I guess, thanks. I knew that Red Bull had STR as a customer team but didn’t know about the studio set-up. F1 is all about bending the rules anyway.

    4. That statement indicate that last years rumors of RedBull breaking the RRA might have been true. Also, while RB is ‘just a race team’ they have some of the most experienced and highly rated engineers in the sport. That they ‘do not manufacture road cars and other automotive technologies’ is just a sorry excuse. The developments usually work the other way around: if someone makes a braking innovation, it usually gets into roadcars later, like carbonfiber chassis, ceramic brakes, seamless shift gearboxes, etc. I dont remember seeing any roadcar with a new technology, that could apply in F1, and if there are some, that might not worth so mutch as the news would be all over it.
      Why cant he just say we have money, ad we would like to spend it to win races and championships, it might be a bad PR, but it would seem honest.

      1. I don’t think it is necessarily about genuine road-car research being brought into F1. Consider, for example, that a Mercedes engineer comes up with a potential new engine component which could improve performance. Rather than the F1 team incurring the expense of the initial research which could lead to a dead end the project is passed to the performance road car division or even another motorsport division to look into the new part and consider its feasibility and perhaps develop the idea further. Either (i) there is no merit to the new part in which case it is dropped and the F1 team has incurred no cost going down a dead end or (ii) the part is deemed feasible and initial development and testing has been carried out at no cost, the project is then handed back to the F1 team to be finalised and implemented with the overall cost being lower than the true development cost.

  2. No Mike Gascoyne you did not share the pain of the fans stuck in the traffic. There were quite a few fans who didn’t even manage to get into the grounds.
    Mike clearly had good intentions with the tweet but it’s slightly insulting to suggest he shared the fans pain because he also got stuck on his way to the track. Especially since they’re paying for the experience and he is being paid.

  3. Regarding f1fanatic’s tweet–> #CameronsBritain.

  4. Allocations at Silverstone need to be reduced to an acceptable level until the facilities are upgraded, it’s the only way I’m afraid. Better than disappointing thousands of paying spectators.

    I feel sorry for Silverstone though, they need to sell as many tickets to cover the ridiculous hosting fees amongst other things but the facilities are being stretched to their limits and beyond in the process.

    1. I feel sorry for Silverstone though, they need to sell as many tickets to cover the ridiculous hosting fees amongst other things but the facilities are being stretched to their limits and beyond in the process.

      Silverstone has one of the highest levels of attendance of any race on the calendar. As Ian Parkes pointed out, there were 80,000 people attending the Friday practice sessions – which is more than most events get on a Sunday.

      Because of this, Silverstone is one of the few circuits to consistently turn a profit. With 200,000 people visiting over the course of a weekend, they make a fair bit of profit, too. They could easily scale back their allocations to ease the demands on their facilities and still produce a profit.

    2. I also feel sorry for the organisers, Bernie forced them to borrow millions to upgrade the track, pits and deluxe grandstand facilities, the organisers still have to pay millions to FOM (Bernie+CVC) to stage the race and the only income they get is from fans that actually attend on the weekend. With the debt they entered into to satisfy FOM and the limited sources of income they have from the event it is obvious that there is no money available to weatherproof the car-parks. The news that more than 80,000 fans still attended Friday practice despite the weather and the delays just shows that the BritishGP is the bedrock of F1, British fans should use their numerical influence to try and force a bigger proportion of the income generated by F1 to be returned to the sport.

      1. You do realise that Silverstone attracts some of the highest crowd numbers of any Grand Prix in the year, right? I know you love to portray the commercial side of the sport as big mean old Bernie Ecclestone taking what he wants and leaving the circuit organisers with nothing but broken crockery, but that is not the case here. Not only does Silverstone attract greater crowd numbers than other circuits, it’s also one of the few circuits to consistently turn a profit – and with 200,000 people expected to turn out over the course of the Grand Prix weekend, the circuit makes a pretty decent profit on it all. If any circuit can actually afford to turn away spectators, it’s Silverstone.

        Also, I believe that the money for the upgrades to the circuit and the pits came from a fund the BRDC had set aside years ago. When Bernie pressured them into upgrading their facilities, it wasn’t because he decided he wanted some shiny new architecture to look at. No, it was because the BRDC had been promising to upgrade their pits for years, but kept procrastinating over it. Whatever you might think of him, Bernie was right to pressure Silverstone because the BRDC let their facilities get to the point where the teams were complaining about them constantly. If Bernie had let things continue the way they had been, there would no British Grand Prix this year – not because Bernie pulled it from the calendar, but because the old pits would be underwater.

        1. because the old pits would be underwater.

          The old pits are still there are they’re not underwater.

          1. Because they got an upgrade, too, albeit a smaller one. That’s now the support paddock, where all the GP2 and GP3 cars are being kept. And series like the BTCC, which run on the National circuit, use it as their full-time pits.

  5. “People wondering why traffic is so bad, highest ever Friday attendance today of over 80,000. More than most other GPs get on a Sunday.”

    Looking at these numbers, there’s certainly a case for a second Grand Prix somewhere in the United Kingdom. Moreso than anywhere else – even America – and certainly moreso than in Spain.

    And yet people still think that a race in London – anywhere in London, be it the centre of the city or the Olympic Park; wherever – will never happen. If anything, the crowd figures at Silverstone make an excellent case for it.

  6. I was surprised no-one seemed to pick up on the danger those rivers Jenson Button refers to posed during FP1 and FP2. Every time they showed an onboard as they approached Stowe, they’d cross a tiny river (can’t have been any more than 5 metres across) but it was enough to make the cars rev considerably higher. Obviously, this indicates that while doing close to 300 km/h, there was no part of car touching the road. I can’t believe we didn’t see people spinning off in a straight line! If the weather stays the same, there’s no way they’re going to be able to race.

  7. Why Button whines of bad conditions? Because he has no balls. That’s what separate good and the best drivers!

    1. Button wasn’t the only one complaining about the conditions, He’s the one quoted in the article because he was the one interviewed for the article, However rtl reported that all but 2 drivers shared button’s concerns.

  8. “The UK government does nothing for the GP yet David Cameron is happy to go on Sky and bask in reflected glory of British teams’ success. ”

    Well said, I too found that ironic watching the interview. It reminds me of when he and Gordon Brown were contragulating Hamilton for his world title success in 2008. There was nothing particular wrong with that, but they didn’t really care about Hamilton’s success.

    1. when he and Gordon Brown were contragulating Hamilton

      Are you sure that wasn’t George W Bush?

      1. @jerseyf1 Huh??? I do mean Gordon Brown, he was the Primeminister back then. George Bush was the outgoing U.S. president at the time. If I’ve missed a joke, then apologies.

  9. First it was medals, then it was artificial rain, followed by shortcuts … now Bernie’s latest bright idea is allowing teams to set the rules, which is just asking for trouble.

    But, more importantly, he says that Mercedes has agreed to the terms of the Concorde Agreement, and all that remains is to satisfy the lawyers.

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