Don’t put your life in danger – British GP boss has stark warning for protesters
The boss of Silverstone has warned Just Stop Oil campaigners that they will be putting lives at risk if they protest at the British Grand Prix.
The climate activists have already targeted the Lord’s Ashes Test, the Premiership rugby final and the World Snooker Championship so far this year.
Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of Sunday’s race, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said: “The fundamental difference here is that you are not putting your life in danger when you run on the pitch at Lord’s.
“You are not putting your life in danger when you sit on a snooker table or protest at a flower show.
“A motor racing track is not the place to go. It is extraordinarily dangerous and people will be putting lives at risk if they go there, and any sensible, right-thinking person can extrapolate what the ultimate risk here is.
“My strong, strong message is: ‘Do not put your life in danger. This is not the place to go and sit on a floor’. It is absolute madness if someone climbs on to a live racing track.”
Five protesters invaded last year’s British Grand Prix after they stormed the Wellington Straight – the fastest point of the Northamptonshire track – before sitting down during the opening lap.
The contest had already been suspended following Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu’s high-speed crash, but a number of cars sped by the group before they were dragged away by marshals. The protesters were handed suspended jail sentences in March.
Silverstone has worked alongside Northamptonshire Police to beef up security ahead of this year’s event, with a record 480,000 people expected to attend over the weekend, and more than 140,000 fans in place for the race.
Pringle added: “We have no specific intelligence, but we will plan for the worst and hope for the best. If somebody is minded to invade a flower show then they are probably minded to invade a motor race because we have many more global viewers.
“But there are plans in place. We will have a much more visible police presence around the event and we hope that fans help us to try and spot people who are planning to disturb people’s fun.”
Lewis Hamilton is gearing up for his home race following a disappointing Austrian Grand Prix where he finished seventh and was then demoted to eighth after a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits.
Hamilton was also dealt a public rebuke by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. The Austrian told Hamilton to “just drive the car” following a number of complaints by his driver over the radio.
“There are days when I can say I’m truly proud of myself, and days like today when frustration takes over,” said Hamilton on his Instagram account.
“In a race it can feel like you’re hanging off a cliff and losing the strength to hold on.
“It’s confusing for us to have such strong performances one day and then be nowhere the next.
“But when you really care about what you’re doing, you brush it off and keep fighting. Heads down for Silverstone.”