Protesters removed after storming track on first lap

Henry Valantine
Police and dogs patrol the paddock. British GP Silverstone July 2021.

Protesters breached a barrier on the first lap at Silverstone and had to be removed by police at the start of the British Grand Prix.

Rumours that a protest from climate activists would take place swirled before the race weekend, and Northamptonshire Police said they had received “credible intelligence” that people would look to storm the track on Sunday in a move that could “jeopardise lives” – and several people attempted to run out in front of the cars on Sunday.

The race was red-flagged as a result of a massive first-corner crash at the start which saw Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu career towards the barrier upside down and launch into the catch fencing over the tyre barrier.

Thankfully, the team confirmed he was conscious and has been taken to the medical centre at Silverstone, with several other cars also caught up in the melee.

But on the other side of the opening complex, protesters managed to make their way towards the Wellington Straight as the cars made their way around slowly, and police and security were immediately on hand to remove them from the track.

A statement from the FIA and F1 read: “We can confirm that after the red flag, several people attempted to enter the track. These people were immediately removed and the matter is now being dealt with by the local authorities.”

Fans in attendance have also been urged to report any suspicious behaviour to the authorities in order to prevent such incidents from occurring over the weekend.

Northamptonshire Police posted on Twitter before the race: “If you see something that doesn’t look right today, please speak to an officer or member of Silverstone staff, or call us.

“We’d rather investigate a well-meaning report that turns out to be nothing than not to be told about it at all.”