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GP Week : Issue 161
There were some grim faces on the A43 on Friday. For many, the seven- mile journey from the M1 junction to Silverstone had taken four hours and they weren’t even in the car park when I tapped on their windows to get a quote. Most of what I heard was unprintable: a torrent of four letter words aimed at the organizers and the police who are paid a six-figure sum to sort out the traffic. Over in the BRDC clubhouse, which I’ve always thought would benefit from some leather Chesterfields and a walk-in humidor if it’s to seriously tout itself as a gentlemen’s club, the directors had the cat o’ nine tails out and were chastising themselves with it. Poor Derek War wick, less than a year in the top job. He joked to his presidential predecessor, Damon Hill: “Why couldn’t it have rained last year when you were in charge?” The wet weather buggered the car parks which led to the queues, but while this summer season has been rainy even by English standards – a stereotype the paddock’s foreigners were all too eager to rub in – the notion that the organizers didn’t know it was going to rain after such a wet month, and only started planning extra Park & Rides and car parks on Friday, is a bit bloody ridiculous. Ultimately by dissuading people to come on Saturday they saved themselves for the main event, which was the right call even if it was an embarrassing pill to swallow at the time. Hopefully some kind of refund will be offered to the fans that heeded the advice and stayed away. It was a thrilling race (aren’t they all this year?), the sun came out, and the fans that braved the jams and the mud were rewarded. I wonder, though, how many of those watching on TV held on for the surprise at the end when Mark Webber came through to deny Fernando Alonso his second win on the trot just as Andy Murray and Roger Federer were getting down to business on Centre Court. I made my first visit to Wimbledon last week and was taken by the atmosphere, the tradition, and the attire. It was raining there too, but far from hiding in unflattering anoraks and baseball caps the crowds wore blazers, ties and proper hats. Splendid, I thought, and I do wish that similar standards were adhered to in Formula One. F1 is supposed to be the most glamorous sport in the world – at least that’s what they’d have us believe, but looking in the grandstands and even the paddock – which, at Silverstone, included stars like Hugh Grant and Jude Law – the sartorial standards are non existent. We think we’re so much more sophisticated than NASCAR – but the stands look exactly the same, it’s just there are more umbrellas in Europe! Tickets for the British Grand Prix are more expensive than Wimbledon. The commercial sums cripple the competition. Yet seemingly no one can be bothered to invest in a decent suit. If Silverstone has the same problems with the traffic next year and needs to turn people away, may I suggest a dress code. Just don’t forget to twin your pinstripes with a set of wellies – you’ll need them. IF F1 WERE SMARTER THERE'D BE NO PROBLEMS: put on a tie! OPINION OPINION ADAM HAY-NICHOLLS F1 Editor 20 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: