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Seven protestors arrested for track invasion

NEWS STORY
04/07/2022

Northamptonshire Police have confirmed that seven protestors representing the Just Stop Oil climate activist group have been arrested following their invasion of the track at the start of the British Grand Prix.

While attention was focussed on the horrific events on the pit straight on the run to Abbey, just a few more corners further on seven protestors had run on to the circuit and sat down on the Wellington Straight. Indeed, it was this, that caused Max Verstappen to slow as opposed to the red flag that followed the incident elsewhere.

Earlier in the week, Northamptonshire Police had advised that it had credible information that protestors would try something and were therefore on alert.

That the protestors were still able to gain access to the circuit and place themselves on the track is of considerable concern.

"Everyone has the right to speak out on issues, but no one has the right to put lives in danger," said an angry Stefano Domenicali. "The actions of a small group of people today were completely irresponsible and dangerous.

"We thank the police for their great work, and we shouldn't be complacent about the risk this posed to the safety of the drivers, marshals, fans and the individuals themselves."

"I'm really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race-day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track," said chief inspector Tom Thompson of Northamptonshire Police. "We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.

"Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers. All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.

"I would like to thank all of the officers and staff, as well as our partners, who have worked tirelessly on this policing operation. Generally we have had very low crime rates, today's incident was dealt with effectively and efficiently, and I could not have asked for more."

While the FIA acknowledged the incident with a brief statement shortly after it occurred, refusing to give the protestors the oxygen of publicity, F1's TV cameras did not cover the incident.

Surprisingly, or not, despite the danger the protestors had placed themselves and others in, speaking at the post-race press conference, the drivers appeared to give their support to the action.

Admitting that he originally thought the red flag was down to the protestors, Carlos Sainz said: "I saw three guys running towards me", which was the first Lewis Hamilton had heard about it.

"Protesting?" he asked. When told, yes, he added: "Big up those guys."

"Luckily we had Seb driving!" joked Sergio Perez, referring to Sebastian Vettel's recent activity on the subject.

Turning more seriously to the matter, Hamilton added: "I didn't know what the protesters were for, I just found out. I love that people are fighting for the planet and we need more people like them."

"Formula 1 needs to do more, needs to keep pushing and then to keep improving and going in that direction," added Perez, empathising with the cause. "It's great to see people fighting for their cause but obviously it's good that they don't put themselves at risk or they don't put other people at risk.

"I'm sure that Formula 1 can still do more, we have to keep pushing all together to still show a good example.

"I think people have the opportunity to speak out and do manifestations wherever they want, because it's a right," said race winner Sainz. "I just don't believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the best way to do it, and putting yourself at risk and all the other drivers.

"Yes, I support the cause, I think Formula 1 is doing a great job already to try and go carbon zero by 2030. And we are pushing on this area and we are pushing F1 and pushing the FIA to find ways to go in this direction. I just don't believe jumping into a Formula 1 track is the right way to manifest yourself and protest. You have to be a bit more careful because you could get killed and you could generate an accident."

Mercedes was quick to clarify Hamilton's comment, stating that: "Lewis was endorsing their right to protest but not the method that they chose, which compromised their safety and that of others".

"Please don't jump on to our race circuits to protest," the seven-time champion subsequently tweeted, "we don't want to put you in harm's way."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 07/07/2022 17:56

"Any driver that supports this cause should leave and race in Formula E. The quickest way to facilitate change is not to render support in the first place."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by elsiebc, 07/07/2022 17:49

"@ Bill Hopgood Good one! Haha!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 05/07/2022 11:59

"@ James D....I was under the impression that it was the Mercedes PR people who wound back the stupid and irresponsible comment made by Hamilton. "

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4. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 04/07/2022 19:51

"In this situation of protestors going on track, I feel sorry for the marshals / security team at the track as no doubt that they, along with Silverstone's organising committee, will be blamed for this stunt, not the protestors themselves (all for the greater good).

If F1 goes zero carbon, does that mean a return to steel tube chassis and aluminium bodywork?"

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5. Posted by Kristofforo, 04/07/2022 17:55

"Do we know how they got onto the track itself? Normally it is fully fenced, for obvious reasons! "

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6. Posted by @R1Racing71, 04/07/2022 16:20

"I suspect a major fine will be winging it's way to Silverstone on this.
Just when they were about to make a profit too!"

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7. Posted by JamesD, 04/07/2022 14:52

"To be fair to Lewis he did qualify it very quickly after that comment to say that there's a time and a place for protest and a race track is not the place."

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8. Posted by Italian Job, 04/07/2022 8:16

"Would Sir Jackie Stewart ever have uttered in public something along the lines of LH's "I am happy that they protest" remark?
That's the difference between a wiser, older, person and a youngster who has yet to learn "engage brain before opening mouth"."

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