sport

Silverstone aim to avoid repeat

Silverstone officials are to implement measures designed to ensure there is no repeat of this year's British Grand Prix travel chaos.

Heavy rainfall in the build-up to the July event forced campsites to close, crippling congestion and organisers calling on fans not to attend for qualifying on Saturday in a bid to ease the situation on Sunday ahead of the race.

Mercifully for managing director Richard Phillips, a record 127,000 crowd watched Red Bull's Mark Webber take the chequered flag ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

However, what transpired on Friday and Saturday left a bitter taste in the mouth of Phillips who vowed he would do all in his power to avoid a similar situation occurring again in the future.

From next year the park and ride scheme will be expanded to run on all three days, and which will likely include new locations.

There will also be improved shuttle services for those travelling to the event by train, whilst a coach service will operate from a number of UK towns and cities, including London, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Nottingham, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Cardiff.

Silverstone is also to carry out work throughout the winter to improve drainage and water displacement systems of the non-Tarmac car parks on site.

The official 'Silverstone Woodlands' campsite is also being increased in size by 70 acres which, in the event of bad weather, will result in the density of plots being reduced.

Phillips said: "We have learned from this year's experience and are taking steps to ensure we're better equipped to deal with whatever the weather may throw at us in future.

"This year's torrential weather, waterlogged campsites and saturated car parks created a 'perfect storm' of unforeseeable issues, to which we were having to react throughout a difficult and challenging day.

"Ironically, prior to this year's Grand Prix we had identified the need, and had been working on plans, to start reducing the number of people driving to the event.

"It will take time to change the mind-set of fans, but we need to ensure public transport is available as a comfortable and reliable option.

"Park and Ride has been a popular transport option and has worked well, and this is one of the areas we will be building on for 2013.

"More land will be allocated to get campers off the roads and into holding areas, while plots are assigned.

"The weather conditions caused delays in getting campers onto the site this year, which compounded traffic issues, so larger holding areas will enable us to get campers off the road and keep traffic flowing.

"One of the main problems on the Friday of this year's event was privately-owned campsites having to close, without notice, on safety grounds.

"This resulted in bottlenecks as campers, being turned away, joined the traffic system with nowhere to go.

"For 2013 we will be looking to introduce a communication network with other campsite operators, to improve the flow of information about capacities, availability and access."

With such measures in place, Phillips added: "We are confident we won't see a repeat of the events of this year."