F1’s plan to end military flypasts won’t stop Red Arrows flying at Silverstone

2022 F1 season

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The traditional pre-race flypast by the Red Arrows at the British Grand Prix has not been outlawed by Formula 1, Silverstonehas confirmed in reaction to recent reports.

In a change for the 2022 F1 season, race promoters will not be permitted to stage military aviation displays prior to races. This prompted speculation the Red Arrows, which are part of the Royal Air Force, would no longer be allowed to perform.

However Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle denied this in a statement. “The Red Arrows have played a significant part in entertaining motorsport fans since they first performed at the British Grand Prix in 1966 and I am pleased to say that Formula 1 has confirmed this much-loved tradition can continue at Silverstone in 2022,” he said.

“The Red Arrows, officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, are not classed as military aviation and, as such, do not fall into the category of those displays that will no longer be permitted at Formula 1 events. We look forward to welcoming them back to Silverstone on July 3rd.”

The same dispensation is likely to apply to similar aerobatic display teams such as the Frecce Tricolori, which regularly appear ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

The Red Arrows are yet to confirm whether their schedule of events for 2022 will include the British Grand Prix.

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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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63 comments on “F1’s plan to end military flypasts won’t stop Red Arrows flying at Silverstone”

  1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    21st January 2022, 20:33

    Everyone is equal, except some are more equal than others

    1. Of course. That’s the F1 way on everything

      1. I’m happy with this decision, my dad used to flay Hawks in the 70s but not it sure how a military aircraft flown by military personnel isn’t classed as military.

    2. Do you ever stop with the criticism and constant negativity?

      1. @bradders it seems that particular poster is being given free reign to harass and abuse others, particularly when it allows him to also promote his nationalistic prejudice and express a particular hatred of anyone even remotely connected to the UK.

        1. I don’t know who he is and if there’s hatred or not (and who hates whom here exactly), but I’d rather people stick to what was said instead of going after someone personally. Was he incorrect? What’s not true in what he said? If there’s nothing you can say about that, then maybe you’re the haters here. I really don’t know, I don’t remember his previous posts, but this kind of discussion is really making it impossible to enjoy reading the comments.

        2. I’m glad it’s not just me who is of that viewpoint.

          And you’re the most sensible and restrained on here, anon!

      2. He’s not wrong though.

  2. Good move from F1 management to stop promoting war and military spending, but allowing some and not others is a slippery slope …

    1. “Good move from F1 management to stop promoting war and military spending”

      Good? Hmm, do you know the saying: “To secure peace, is to prepare for war”?
      Why would F1 perceive military spending negatively? Or why does it, if that’s the case?
      This reeks to me with utter ignorance and naivety. Military spending is fundemantal for securing geopolitical stability.
      By the same token they could reject medicine, as medicine is inherently connected to disease and death too.

      1. I would not use the argument Dale uses amian and @barryfromdownunder, but rather that it seems in line with the official FIA stance that F1 and motorsports are not political, hence allowing military flyby’s to promote it is not fitting.

        Of course, as the example of the Red Arrows shows, it is relatively easy, and in probably quite a few cases automatically done, to work around as the planes that do such ‘stunt’ flyby’s are often not designated military planes; that too seems to fit with the FIA to me to be honest as now they can say they decoupled any questionable government further from their sport, without it having much impact on where and how the sport goes about it’s business.

        1. Except the Hawk (along almost all aircraft used by military display teams, the Tricolori included) is a military aircraft being fully capable of being used as a second line air defence, equipped as such by not just the RAF but for export as well.
          It wouldn’t take the ground crews long to re-wire in all the equipment needed to put a couple of sidewinders and a gunpod onto the Red Arrows, in the same way as they can all the trainer aircraft in the fleet.

          Although, you could argue the FIA / F1 banning military aircraft from displaying at the start of the races is a political move and right in keeping with the sport doing the in topic things as publicly as it can without changing anything deeper.

          Maybe F1 should stay out of political, social and environmental issues entirely and stick to what it used to do best, make cars go really fast around race tracks.

  3. Only 7 of the 23 rounds are in countries which don’t operate their own aerobatic display team (the US has two, so they can do one race each…), so it seems like the original announcment meant very little.

  4. Usual decision from F1 since the liberty takeover, catering to a loud but in the fanbase basically nonexistent group of people.
    Even in countries where it wont be held, the pilots will need to fly those hours anyways to
    have their minimum flight hours their regulations need, so there wont be any reduction in carbon footprint.

    1. I’m guessing one country came to F1 with a plan that far enough any reasonable line of acceptability that lead to this change.

      1. Indeed @proesterchen I wondered about that too; @leventebandi as I said above, this seems more about the FIA distancing themselves from any questionable government of countries they might be (will be?) racing at, and as such it does the job of making it legalistically okay, without really needing to rock the boat in actual fact.

    2. Has it to do with carbon emission or rather F1 not wanting to be associated with any military forces? Imagine a display of Chinese military forces before the GP, would Liberty Media – an American firm – be happy @leventebandi?
      I think that’s why it’s ok for a branch of the British military to be part of the show.

  5. I wonder which of the countries on the calendar was/were responsible for making this change.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      22nd January 2022, 12:44

      I would have to guess Russia.

      1. I have to admit that I was really looking forward to a squadron of Tu-160’s buzzing the paddock lol.

      2. Putin objecting to military demonstrations?
        Ain’t that some stretch :)

  6. That’s what I call consistency.

  7. (sarcasm on) I would support also that F1 banned national anthems and flags. They also represent militarist and a sens of aggression. Some anthem promote nationalistic supremacy and flags usually glorify the killing of other nationals.
    On the next rant: How playing part of Carmem promotes tha patriarchy.

    1. Banned the drug cheating Russians flag and failed miserably to do anything when it was blatantly painted on a car, so hardly surprising

  8. Yes this was high on the list of things that F1 needed to sort out.

  9. It’s a shame, last time I went to the F1 the kids would love and really look forward to the fly by’s. Maybe F1 is just salty because it’s a cracking loud noise and makes the F1 look lame by comparison.

    1. I’ll point you to the post by Ilanin above, who points out that the Red Arrows certainly aren’t the only planes that would not fall under this rule …

  10. That’s a shame. The FA/18 flyover was always one of the highlights of the weekend. Take the weapons component away and they’re basically the equivalent of F1 cars in the sky. Incredible to watch.

    1. The FA/18 is my favourite part of the weekend. I love how in Melbourne it builds up in excitement finishing with the FA/18 coming (to me at least) as the grand finale. You get the Porsche cup cars and it’s like, that’s cool. Then GT cars come out and they are even more exciting. Then V8 Supercars come out and it’s like wow, they are fast and loud! Then F1 comes out and it’s like holy moly they are quick! And theeeeeeeeeen the FA/18 comes out and it’s like yep, that bloke owns the whole city right now! Sorry, but even the F1’s don’t come close, fighter jets are just awesome!!!

      The thing is the pilots will still be doing training missions with or without F1 so if it’s to reduce carbon footprint you’ll be disappointed to find out it’ll make no difference whatsoever. Pilots don’t just treat these displays as a way of showing off, they actually run exercises like being over a target point at a particular time so it’s not just an exercise in wasting fuel for our enjoyment.

  11. I am ok if they stop the jets flying overhead, but only if they replace that with an honour guard and a volley of shots to get things going!! Or maybe a saber arch for the lads to drive under. Good grief that is disappointing. I am burning my FIA license and underwear in protest.

  12. The red arrows are actually entertaining, the US flying their war choppers over the circuit is just political and cringy.

    1. Political and cringe? Making double use of mandatory training flight hours for entertainment is efficiency, something F1 is eager to promote.

      1. It maybe efficient, but I fail to see how it’s not political @mrmuffins.
        The military as a whole are a political tool (budget size, type of spending, use of the force…).

    2. That’s how I felt about it too (2019). Heard jets last year but didn’t see them.

      If people had seen these aircraft strike targets they would probably feel differently. Despite benefitting from then saving my miserable self on several occasions I cannot react with anything other than sadness when I hear or see them.

  13. Kind of a bit hypocritical to be woke about military flypasts when the calendar visits authoritarian countries with dodgy human rights records.

    1. F1 keeps going woke.

      1. Nah Adrian, it’s probably much more cynical so the FIA can say they did something while still, as @davids mentions, not actually changing much at all.

      2. Sure, F1 is so in touch with the times that we got races in those icons of wokeness Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

  14. A pity. For the average viewer, flyovers may be just ‘cool’ on TV, but the ones that have been on track and enjoyed such a display know how impressive it is.

    I will miss them.

  15. We are becoming a bunch of pansies! While theres no need for over zealous testosterone filled egos we must still balance human ingenuity with national pride and abit of showmanship to entertain the audience and the fans with our technological and yes military grade brilliance at events that promote human technology at its highest level.

    1. Speak for yourself Wayne.

    2. @Wayne the air forces in question are welcome to use trainers, passenger liners or non-military aircraft to perform their displays – F1 has made it clear the issue is with using warplanes, which some countries do intentionally.

  16. They are they are a bit annoying when they interrupt interviews on the grid though, I won’t miss them

  17. Glad to see that this rule does not apply to display teams like Red Arrows and the Italian one. As for the ones classified as military I really don’t care. But it should not be a display of how powerful our military is. Red Arrows and Frecce Tricolori are not this.

    Saw the Italian ones at Monza about five years ago. They were amazing! One of the nightlights of the race day.

  18. From some comments on this subject, which to me seems very much like the sort of thing people won’t even notice is gone, it sounds like some are actively disappointed there’s no warmongering at F1 events (the latter part of this comment is very much in jest).

  19. Hahahaha they’re ending this because of “sustainability goals” yet teams fly huge amounts of equipment to races, teams have what 2 or 3 sets of equipment travelling around the world throughout the year that might only get used 4 or 5 times a year. Teams make parts that might only be used for 1 weekend before the next update comes along. Drivers flying around on private jets. Its MADNESS.

  20. Omitted from this article:

    Gulf Air planes can flypast Bahrain International Circuit, and Etihad Airways planes over Yas Marina Circuit as long as they use sustainable fuels.

    The article above was posted 20:20, I knew of this (and the Red Arrows) early afternoon

  21. Just absurd, virtue signaling and inconsistent, like everything else the F1 Woke Championship does. Thank God for NASCAR and Indy Car.

    1. @gpwaon20

      Remember when Lily Diabetes pulled out from sponsoring Conor Daly at both Indy (Indycar) and Road America (NASCAR) becuse 30 years ago (at the time) his FATHER said a bad word on the radio?

  22. So it’s kinda like banning grid girls but then allowing cheerleaders at COTA who were more scantily clad than grid girls were.

    1. I totally missed this. It was so hot last year I was probably wearing as much clothes as the cheerleaders anyway.

  23. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
    22nd January 2022, 16:01

    For those whom think “Fly-overs” are a “show of force”… please explain how that is so? It is usually three to six aircraft flying over with most peppering the sky of the national colors of the circuit. That to me does not constitute as “show of force” as lets say…. ummm nationally televised military parades? Folks needs to take a chill pill… why can’t hosting countries celebrate their national pride using a flyover that has been common for like ever? I don’t understand how folks get so hyper sensitive these days over topics like this.

      1. @Hiland…WELL SAID!!!

  24. If anything should be banned from F1, celebrities should be banned from the paddock. The last thing I want to see are someone “famous” wandering around. What is the point of that?

    1. I have no problem with that. I also have no problem with the flyovers, they’re cool.

  25. So you can’t fly a military aircraft over the track but you are allowed to race in places like Saudi Arabia..

    1. Maybe that’s why they banned military style aircraft. They don’t want those American-supplied AH-64s taking out the field because they prayed to the wrong gods?

  26. @hiland well said.

  27. Absolutely pathetic!!!

    Things come in 333’s:-
    1. Grid Girls
    2. “Military’ style aircraft.
    3. Race cars can
    NOT be painted in white, non-white, yellow……………….????????????????????

    1. 3. I have no idea what you are trying to get at

      You’re implying cars will not be allowed to be painted?

  28. It all seems reasonable to me. It has always seemed extremely bizarre to have a military jet flying over a track or sports arena prior to an event. What is the connection to racing? Its just as odd as having some bread delivery trucks lap the track. Better to have Kimi Raikkonen do a lap on a riding lawnmower or

    A Grand Prix should not be an opportunity to show off the host country’s weapons systems. An aerobatic team is reasonable, especially if there is 60 years of history doing so. I don’t get the controversy.

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