1. ITV Report

Silverstone confirm they 'can accommodate all' fans

Fans queue to get into Silverstone for qualifying during for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit on Saturday Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

Silverstone have confirmed they are in a position to "accommodate all ticket holders" for Sunday's British Grand Prix.

Up to 30,000 spectators with public car park passes were advised to stay away from today's qualifying after constant rainfall yesterday left car parks resembling quagmires.

It was hoped that leaving those car parks empty for today would allow them to be in use tomorrow, when a capacity crowd of 125,000 is expected.

Cars queue to get in to Silverstone Circuit for the British Grand Prix qualifying session

A Silverstone statement said:

"Silverstone would like to thank fans that heeded the circuit's advice on Friday evening and did not come to the Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix on Saturday.

"While it was an extremely difficult decision, and one that will have disappointed people that had to stay away, the decision gave the circuit a fighting chance to repair and get previously unsafe car parks into a state that can be used on race day.

"The circuit has implemented further contingency plans throughout Friday night and Saturday.

"As a result, it is now in a stronger position to accommodate all ticket holders coming to Silverstone on Sunday."

Conditions were initially dry this morning, but hopes of an improvement in the state of the car parks did not appear particularly high when a deluge forced qualifying to be red-flagged for 92 minutes.

But Silverstone are encouraging all ticket holders to turn up for tomorrow's race, although several contingency measures have been put in place.

These include asking fans to allow plenty of time for their journey and, where possible, to travel by 4x4, motorcycle or to car share.

Due to the severe weather conditions fans are also asked to prepare for a longer walk to the circuit than usual as staff attempt to park cars safely.

They are also advised to enjoy the post-race entertainment in order to stagger the flow of traffic out of the track, while those camping are asked to wait to leave until Monday morning if possible.

Those camping should leave their vehicles at their campsite, as they will be turned away if they drive to the circuit.

Fans will be refunded for any unused Friday or Saturday tickets and Phillips admitted the financial hit could run into seven figures.

"It's going to cost us a lot of money. I honestly don't know the figure, but it could be a lot more than hundreds of thousands," he said.

A Silverstone hotline has been set up for travelling fans, with those affected encouraged to call 08443728300.

"The weather has been a constant issue over the weekend."Tomorrow will be a bit of a challenge, but please bear with us; we are going to do our best."The scenes at Silverstone this weekend have been reminiscent of the awful weather that blighted the 2000 British Grand Prix, held in April that year.Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was scathing in his criticism of the track on that occasion, but he was more sympathetic today.He told Sky Sports F1: "I'm not a big supporter of Silverstone, but in all fairness they've done a good job and the rain is not their fault."England has been flooded; people's houses have been flooded and they've been left stranded in the streets."So it is no different here than anywhere else."After asking some fans to stay away today, there were fears that there would be similar lengthy traffic jams to those experienced yesterday.But several fans who spoke to Press Association Sport were surprised by the ease with which they gained access to the circuit, although many who were on the A43 were turned away.Mark Williams said he encountered few problems on his journey from Shrewsbury.He said: "It has been superb, an awful lot better than I had expected it to be."When I saw the news yesterday I really feared that I would end up snarled up in the traffic. I set off just after 8am but I got down the A43 with very few delays and I got into the circuit and parked in good time."

– Silverstone managing director, Richard Phillips

Formula 1 driver's tweeted about the earlier disruption.

On Friday, Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips issued an "unreserved apology" to fans, adding the incident almost reduced him to tears.

Mr Phillips said the financial hit is likely to run into seven figures, which for this season will potentially turn a profit into a loss.

Spectators at a camping site near to Silverstone Circuit Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

He said organisers were in emergency meetings every two hours yesterday with the police, highways agencies, county council, emergency planning to "try and resolve the issues."

It's going to cost us a lot of money. I honestly don't know the figure, but it could be a lot more than hundreds of thousands (of pounds).

For people who did not get in we're offering refunds, and for anybody who doesn't get in we'll be offering refunds as well.

Right now we're trying to get ourselves into a situation to get in as many people as we can from a position of devastation.

But I unreservedly apologise to people. I feel very responsible for it, this is something I've been very proud of over the years and I almost could cry now.

– Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips

Many F1 fans have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment at the problems:

Problems started when a deluge of up to 40 millimetres of rainfall fell in a 12-hour period.

By mid-afternoon all campsites in and around Silverstone had to be closed.

With camping grounds sodden, caravans and motorhomes had to be escorted in one at a time when ordinarily they would have driven straight in, backing up the traffic.

Lewis Hamilton plays it safe with an umbrella. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Crucially, it is the loss of the car parks that caused major headaches for all concerned as they hope for them to dry out to re-use them on Sunday.

Phillips added: "We'll have to see where we are tomorrow, and then we'll have to have another look tomorrow about Sunday.

F1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone was reportedly told not to turn up because of the weather conditions. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Even F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was contacted and told not to bother turning up.

Phillips said: "We dissuaded him from coming in. He was coming in by road, but he could have been five hours, I guess."