Police warn ‘reckless’ Silverstone protest would ‘jeopardise lives’

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

Police and dogs patrol the paddock. Silverstone July 2021.

Northamptonshire Police have warned that a rumoured protest at Silverstone this weekend would be a “reckless plan” and could put lives at risk.

Police say they have received “credible intelligence” that a protest is planned during the weekend’s British Grand Prix, which could potentially involve a track invasion, if it were to go ahead.

Protestors from climate activist group Extinction Rebellion were arrested when they broke into Silverstone in 2020 when the race was being held without fans, and there are claims that a similar kind of disturbance could take place on Sunday.

The 2003 British Grand Prix saw former priest Neil Horan launch a protest by running across the Hangar Straight during the race, with commentator Murray Walker describing him as a “lunatic” while it was taking place.

The police are keen to avoid such moments taking place again this weekend, and the Northamptonshire force have issued a plea to anyone considering protesting to not go through with such an “extremely dangerous” move.

“We have received credible intelligence that a group of protestors are planning to disrupt the 2022 Formula One British Grand Prix and possibly invade the track on race day,” Northamptonshire Police posted on Twitter.

“We want to appeal directly to this group of people. We strongly urge you to not put yourselves, the drivers, as well as the many marshals, volunteers and members of the public, at risk.

“Going onto a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you go ahead with this reckless plan you’re jeopardising lives.

“Protesting is of course everyone’s human right in this country and we are more than happy to speak with you to help you facilitate a peaceful protest at the circuit, we just please ask that you do not create a situation that puts lives in danger.”

“We work closely with Northamptonshire Police and the emergency service agencies to put plans and procedures in place to ensure we are fully prepared to handle such situations,” Stuart Pringle, Silverstone’s managing director, added.

“I am confident, under the lead of the Police, and with the pooled resources of our partners, that we can deliver a safe and secure event for the fans which remains our overriding priority.

“As is the case at every major event we must remain vigilant and ask all at Silverstone to act as our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to a steward.”