D a memories of the year 2000 are awakened. At that time the GP England took place in April. And it rained for days. With the result that Silverstone was in the greatest chaos in its history. The traffic jams reached record lengths of over 20 kilometers.
Farmers made a fortune using their tractors to pull thousands of stuck vehicles out of the mud. For £ 20 per car. Bernie Ecclestone etched back then: 'Silverstone is an interesting lesson for the fans. The organization shows them how it was 50 years ago.'
Parking lots have been swallowed up by the rain
A lot has changed in Silverstone in the meantime. The route has a different layout and the access roads have been enlarged. The main artery is now a motorway. It used to be a dirt road. There have been no more complaints since the new transport system came into service. Traffic jams were a thing of the past. The organizer therefore increased the visitor capacity from 90,000 to 125,000 spectators.
The GP England 2012 has been completely sold out for weeks. 80,000 fans had announced themselves for Friday, 100,000 for Saturday, full house on race day. But on Friday the brave new Silverstone world collapsed. You felt transported back to the year 2000.
The rainiest June in living memory flooded the meadows around the route. A heavy downpour on Friday night was enough to bring the barrel to overflow. The meadows had become unusable as a parking lot. Incoming spectators struggled to fight through the sodden grass, and the campers couldn't come down.
Six and a half hours for 30 kilometers
The organizer recommended that you clear the field in good time. Otherwise they were threatened with sinking into the swamp. Even Jenson Button had problems with his motorhome. 'I had to change parking because the front wheels had already sunk halfway in. Without outside help, I would not have got out.'
Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Paul di Resta have joined forces outside the route to form a wagon castle. The traffic jam wasn't an issue for them. For Nico Hülkenberg it is. The Force India pilot lost 45 minutes in the sheet metal avalanche.
Mark Webber was hit even worse. 'I actually wanted to with thatFly a helicopter, but that was not possible because of the low clouds. So I'm in the car. I know all the secret routes from cycling. Everything went well up to five kilometers before the track. Then I wasn't paying attention and I was in the middle of a column. Nothing went forwards or backwards. I called one of the team to bring me a scooter. Otherwise I wouldn't have made it to the start of training. 'It probably wouldn't have mattered with only eight laps on Friday.
For many spectators it got even worse. There were individual fates that took six and a half hours for 30 kilometers. Around ten thousand had to turn around again because there was no parking space for them. The route operators closed part of the meadows in order to have enough capacity on Sunday.
' Don't come to Silverstone! '
On the radio, the cheated people found out that they would be reimbursed their entrance fee. It costs Silverstone a million pounds. On Saturday it got even more grotesque, even though it was in the morning didn't rain at all. The organizer warned the fans on Friday evening: 'Don't come to Silverstone. We don't have enough parking spaces for you. 'Many viewers disregarded the advice. They came anyway. And produced the next traffic jams.
The bad news for Sunday: It should rain again, and a lot not only cause problems for the spectators. The racing drivers also expect a hot dance. Silverstone is not the ideal track for a rain race. 'The drainage is bad. That is why puddles remain even in light rain, 'said Sebastian Vettel after the first day of training.
Pedro de la Rosa added another:' Because the meadows are full of water, there is always flow from outside Water on the slopes. Together with what comes from above, it's just too much. The view is very bad. If you catch up to the man in front of you within five seconds, you won't see anything. '
In our photo gallery we have the most beautiful pictures of the mud fight and some impressions of traffic jams ...