Silverstone 2012: washout

We’re pretty certain the story at Silverstone today didn’t happen on the track. Frankly not much did. The action was in the car parks, or the roads to the car parks where unconfirmed reports had many fans still in the queues while the second Formula One practice session was taking place this afternoon. Or rather wasn’t: for 30 mins or more there was nothing to watch but the rain.

So let’s get that straight. If reports are correct — and please tell us if that is or isn’t the case — a significant number of the fans who paid anywhere from £60 to much as a claimed £1000 (@DaisyCroweJewel) for today never even made it to the circuit. We tweeted our own fans this afternoon just after FP2 had ended at 15.30pm and heard stories of four-to-six hour waits (@djjarrett, @AutoworxUK) in stationary traffic. And it’s been the same all day. The Sauber team put out a tweet this morning asking anyone in the queues to let its drivers through.

Silverstone has, of recent, got on top of the traffic problems that used to take the fun out of any visit to the Grand Prix in the 1980s and 1990s. It has claimed another £1m has been spent on hardcore and hard standing and drainage this year. It has had a year to prepare and surely imagined it was just possible it might rain this weekend. Yet even without the torrential rainfall forecast for the UK today it’s sounding like some kind of Armageddon. And that’s before venturing in to the campsites themselves.

Some have tweeted that the campsites are the problems and that, because Silverstone has banned cars from entering them, so the roads have been blocked with men and women carrying tents and chilly bins and those cheap BBQs from the petrol station that don’t really work. Is that really the case? Over to you.

On the track Lewis Hamilton looked very in command in the afternoon, but went really no quicker than Romain Grosjean managed in the morning. It’s impossible to tell anything about the relative speeds of the cars however and that’s a shame as there’s been a lot of development since Valencia, especially at McLaren. Of note only were the two Saubers. Remember Malaysia. Sergio Perez has been saying he can win on Sunday.

Gallery: Formula One heads to Silverstone

We think every single car left the circuit at some stage in one of the sessions but the only drivers to come away anything other than a bit wet were Bruno Senna who knocked both ends of his Williams and, in the dying moments of FP2 Fernando Alonso. But it really was extraordinary when anything was happening on the track; expeditions on to the grass looking a bit like that water splash they used to have on the first day of the RAC Rally, when it was the RAC Rally.

There’s no forecasted let up in the rain, in fact it will get heavier. It should make for an astonishingly tense qualifying session but, we fear, even more carnage on the roads and in the car parks.

Anyhow, let us know your experiences below or via twitter to @BBC_TopGear. Use the hashtag #tgBritGP and we can enjoy some group therapy.

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glad to see that they solved the traffic problems then……

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Just made it home from Silverstone! Camped there last night, watched most of practice but took the opportunity to make a run for it – knowing what its going to be line once people get moving / leaving!

Conditions underfoot within the circuit are appalling – with an inch of pure mud at some of the vending outlets (after only the practice day!) and rivers of muddy water running down the paths. They prepared more carpark near club / woodlands campsite last night, spraying cement dust on top of the mud, which cars are now abandoned on – the smell of cement is strong – god knows what it’s doing to the cars that are sitting in it. Good luck getting them out!

All in all, Silverstone’s ‘RED Action Plan’ for the rain was to Panic!! Last night arriving at Woodlands was complete chaos… and today, evidently no better!
Fortunately the Dadford Road exit to the south was clear and we were back in Peterborough in an hour, after we’d been pushed out of the Dadford Road Campsite… (thanks chaps!) and we were the first to leave and still needed pushing!

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me and my dad left our house at 10am and are still stuck in traffic and to pass the time every time we stop we have a kick about with a london2012 football !!!

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Love Silverstone in the wet, could be
the race of the season.

My money, on the iceman due a
win soon.

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gonna be a great race,ferraris car loved the rain when it was awful so it must adore it now.mclaren should do well(still dont know abot jenson though).the worst of the rain is apparently over from the forecast this morning for the weekend.and the red bulls lotuses saubers and force indias given what happened in valencia should do well hopefully

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We left Portsmouth at 10.00 this morning, spent from 12.30 – 18.00 in the queue to get into Silverstone with our 3 day (booked) camping tickets, only to be turned away and told to “maybe” try tomorrow. Now reading all the news no point in trying tomorrow. What a disapppointment. we have been looking forward to this since last year and the lack of information was shocking as was letting people who had been lucky enough to get in and see everything (no offence) get out in front of those people who had not even been able to get in……….. anyway, come on McClaren on Sunday

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Drove to public car park this morning queued for 20-30 minutes to get in, which was expected. Yes the field was muddy but what did they expect but wasn’t too bad. Left after fp2 got to car and was out on empty main road within 15 minutes as we left at the rear of the field

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Been emailed by the circuit today people in public car parks are advised not to turn up tomorrow.

So unless you are camping, using a park and ride or able to arrive on foot, it sounds unlikely there will be a parking space tomorrow.

The weather has been bad around here for some time so this an accumulated effect and not just about the rain today.

Personally I had a great day despite the lack of ‘punch’ on track and as for the weather… I wore wellies. I am afraid F1 glamour only applies to those in the VIP and corporate areas when it rains, so you just have to go prepared. Many didn’t and ridiculous footwear doesn’t even cover it. I mean flip flops!?!! Of course my great day was helped by being able to go home to a warm house and not a smelly tent.

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Spent four hours in Silverstone stuck at a roundabout! No staff for two of those hours. Complete lack of knowledge from car parking staff, all staff. God knows what tomorrow and Sunday will be like! stay at home until they can organise an event worth spending £100.00 on!

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I’ve heard of monkey $H!T fights more organized that this. I thought you Brits were smart enough to build proper drainage

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Having last visited Silverstone in 2000 I foolishly decided to give it another chance by bidding for weekend tickets donated by Autosport magazine in a charity auction. I spent 5 hours in a queue, the last 2 of which were spent parked just under the Welcome to Silverstone sign on the bridge…a few hundred yards away from the car parks and camp sites. Then at 5 pm a friendly policeman informed me I had to turn around and leave because those who had been at the track needed to get out. My how we laughed. The man towing a caravan behind me didn’t fancy his chances of a 3 point turn. In the whole time not one Silverstone employee walked the line of stationary cars to soothe our troubled minds. Not one could explain what was happening. Not one could even tell me who to ask for more information. And in the interim Silverstone FM just chuntered on with the occasional completely useless travel bulletin. So as you can see, they have really learned nothing since the living hell that was 2000…..they cannot be blamed for the weather or the descent of dirt into mud…but the rest is their responsibility. Shame on you.

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Friday was a nightmare for many people….. What really disappoints is the lack of information and lack of organisation in response to the weather. If we had known that it would take us 5 hours to get into the circuit, we, and many others I am sure, would have given up. People were allowed into the circuit which was full and gridlocked. Not a single person was available at the circuit to organise or direct the traffic. The only reason we managed to get out of the circuit was to talk to people in the line of cars and get them to leave an escape route. Bernie was right to threaten to take F1 away from Siverstone in 2000 – this is a world-wide showcase event. If Silverstone does not have the capability to cope with a change of weather and prevent chaos, it shouldn’t be allowed to host the event.

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bit extreme,last guy

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themanwithnoname has a point. I was also there in 2000. Took hours and hours. Live 30 mins from circuit. Took 9 hrs to get there and missed start of race. Silverstone will be lucky to eascape the loss of the GP after this. Have tickets for tomorrow via Park and Ride from SIxfields. Do the buses have priority in the traffic, or could the buses be held up too, leaving none at the pick up points? Will be loooking forward to that one!! Feel desperatly sorry for thsoe who have not got in despite paying hugely inflated prices.

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@kimberlyone @themanwithnoname: the gp was to move to donington park, but due to a lack of money, silverstone extended it’s f1 contract.

silverstone forever!

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