Silverstone, England. A group of environmental protesters have threatened to invade the track during Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The threat was made ahead of what could be Silverstone’s record attendance, with F1 expecting 400,000 fans to show up Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Race day attendance could well exceed the current daily record of 142,000.
The Silverstone race has already been the scene of a track invasion once before. In 2003, Cornelius Horan, a radical Irish priest, ran down the Angara Straight during the Grand Prix and was nearly hit by David Coulthard.
Northamptonshire Police, which confirmed to Sportzshala this week’s planned protest and circuit intrusion, called on environmental activists to reconsider their plans and offered to provide a location for a peaceful protest away from the race track.
Tom Thompson, Chief Inspector of Police Northamptonshire, said: “First of all, I want to speak directly to this group of people and urge you not to put yourself, drivers, and many marshals, volunteers and members of the public, in danger.
“Going out on a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you implement this reckless plan, you are putting lives at risk. Of course, it is the right of every person in this country to protest and we are more than happy to speak with you to help you promote peaceful protest on the track, we just ask you not to create a situation that puts lives in danger.”
F1 and the FIA are working with Silverstone and the police to prevent an intrusion on the track.
In a statement, Silverstone Chief Executive Stuart Pringle said: “We are working closely with Northamptonshire Police and Emergency Services to put in place plans and procedures to ensure we are fully prepared to deal with such situations. I am sure that under the leadership of the Police and the combined resources of our partners, so that we can organize a safe and secure event for fans, which remains our top priority.
“As with any major event, we must remain vigilant and ask everyone at Silverstone to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to the steward.”