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In the wake of this year's debacle which saw race fans being turned away on the first two days of the GP weekend, organisers at Silverstone are introducing a raft of new measures.
Access to the circuit has improved immeasurably since the A43 dual carriageway was built in 2003, supported by the introduction of a sophisticated traffic management plan. However, unprecedented levels of rainfall in the weeks leading up to this year's race, including more than 40mm of rain on the Thursday and Friday of the Grand Prix, caused a chain of events that led to privately-owned campsites being closed on the Friday, which contributed to the congestion.
Silverstone's management then had to request some ticket holders not to attend on the Saturday, in order to preserve and repair car parks ahead of the main race on Sunday. While events were cancelled up and down the country, the British Grand Prix, which is the largest three-day sporting event in the UK, went ahead in front of a record 127,000 crowd on race day. While public attendances reached 80,000 and 90,000 on the Friday and Saturday respectively, approximately 10,000 ticket holders did not attend. These fans have now been fully refunded by the circuit at a cost of £1 million. With lessons learned from the severe weather-related issues surrounding this year's event, Silverstone is making further investment in the venue's infrastructure, as well as increasing travel options for fans attending future British Grands Prix. Announcing plans for 2013, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited Richard Phillips, said: "For more than 10 years now, fans have had little or no issue getting in and out of the circuit for the British Grand Prix, so it's important to keep the problems of this year in perspective. That said, the traffic issues on the Friday of this year's event, and having to ask a number of fans to stay away on the Saturday, were far from ideal. We have learned from this year's experience and are taking steps to ensure we're better equipped to deal with whatever the weather may throw at us in future. "In 2001 approximately 18,000 fans attended on the Friday of the Grand Prix, which was relatively easy to manage. However, our three-day ticket and entertainment package has become more and more popular and we are now seeing attendance figures exceed 80,000 on a Friday. We have been able to accommodate these numbers in the past, but this year's torrential weather, waterlogged campsites and saturated car parks created a 'perfect storm' of unforeseeable issues, to which we were having to react throughout a difficult and challenging day.
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