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GP Week : Issue 161
BERNIE BREAKS WITH TRADITION, DEFENDS SILVERSTONE One of the biggest shocks of the British Grand Prix weekend came about thanks to the heavy rains and traffic chaos that quickly became the hallmark of the event: Bernie Ecclestone passed up an opportunity to criticise the Silverstone race organisers, and instead offered them his support. “I'm upset for the fans, but in reality if it was you running the race what would you do?” Ecclestone asked of the BBC. “For the people of Silverstone, what could they have done? They probably couldn't predict the rain. “Honestly, I don't think anyone expected the amount of rain we had. You might as well say ‘why didn't the council in all these different places throughout England do something’, because I looked on the TV and saw the places flooded, the houses flooded, shops flooded, people abandoning cars. I didn't expect to see that either.” As far as Ecclestone was concerned, the root of the weekend’s traffic problems was in local campsites trying to turn a profit. “There are a lot of camping sites everywhere that shouldn't be there that let people park,” he said. “Because they were under water, the people arrived that had paid to park, drove around and that's what caused all the trouble with the traffic jams.” Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ecclestone admitted he had advised his friends to watch the British Grand Prix from the comfort of home. “The racewillgoon–wewilldoourjoband it promises to be a great race,” he said. “But I am worried about the weather and the fans. I don’t want a repeat of Friday’s scenes, but the forecast for Sunday is bad and we are expecting more people than on any other day. This is why I’ve told all my friends not to come. It feels strange telling them that, but I am thinking of them.” Ecclestone’s supportive comments are in stark contrast to the criticisms the F1 boss made of the British circuit in 2002, when he laid into the track for poor organisation and lack of signposting. “I didn't come by road but I went round the circuit and I thought the general organisation was pretty bad really – inside the circuit,” Ecclestone told the BBC ten years ago. “There were no signs. Nobody knew where anybody was going, nobody knew who was doing what. It was complete disorganisation. “Inside the paddock is all right, and the roads – thank God – are all right. But the rest of it is typical. In fact, it's worse this year than it has ever been – the way they look after the public, or don't look after them.” F1 >>> NEWS 7 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: