F1 drivers weigh in on the potential Just Oil protest during British GP after last year’s situation and how police is handling it.

Last year saw protesters enter the Silverstone circuit and get on the track when the F1 British GP was red-flagged for the incident involving Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu. It was fortunate that the cars were already slowed when they arrived at the scene.

The protestors were eventually taken to court and charged too. There is a potential danger of the scene getting repeated due to the ongoing situation with the ‘Just Oil’ protestors. They have not only disrupted at the Ashes, but also at Wimbledon in the UK.

While the F1 drivers understand their idea behind the protests but they hope that there is no trouble in this weekend’s British GP race as it is eventually dangerous for any public to be on track when the cars are driving at such speeds which can lead to an incident.

The Northants Police has already released a guideline. They will have a large group of uniformed officers, plain-clothed detectives, PCSOs and Special Constables patrolling the circuit along with will the campsites and surrounding road network.

“People have already started arriving and setting up for this year’s British Grand Prix and we are ready to ensure everyone has an enjoyable, safe, and crime-free experience both at Silverstone and while visiting our county,” said Detective Superintendent Richard Tompkins. “Alongside uniformed officers, PCSOs, police staff, specials, and volunteers, we will also have detectives, armed officers, and specialist search dogs and their handlers, patrolling the circuit, the campsites and local area throughout the event.

“With more than 450,000 people expected to attend this year’s event, the security measures that are in place are as stringent as ever. Our priority is to keep the public safe and arresting those who attend the event with the intention of committing crime. With that aim in mind, I would like to remind anyone who may be thinking of bringing flares, smoke bombs or pyrotechnics to Silverstone that these items will be confiscated, and you will be refused entry as well as be subject to police scrutiny.

“We would also like to remind people that there is a 2.3-mile flying restriction cordon in place around the circuit’s heliport including many of the campsites, which means drones are strictly prohibited. With a record-breaking crowd expected over the four days, we would advise against anyone turning up without a ticket, and I would also ask Formula 1 fans to be aware of people selling counterfeit tickets.

“We would also ask people to stay vigilant and be aware of their surroundings. We would also recommend they look at the crime prevention and safety advice on our website and do all they can to prepare for their visit. The most important thing is that if you spot something which does not feel right, trust your gut instinct, and report it to us, or a member of the Silverstone team, straightaway. We would rather it be nothing than you have not told us at all.”

Here’s what the F1 drivers said –

Lewis Hamilton: “I mean, we’ve not yet spoken with the FIA in terms of what we would have to do. But naturally, we’re really hoping that we’ve learned a lot from last year’s experience and that won’t happen this weekend. I believe we have 100 more marshals this weekend, who are there to be supportive and make sure that this doesn’t happen as well. And I think, at least from my perspective, and I think my team’s, we are very, very focused on sustainability. We believe in what people are fighting for. And we are making those changes as a sport. But safety is key. We don’t want to be put in harm’s way and we don’t want to put anyone else in harm’s way. So if there is if there was to be one, we hope that it’s not on track. I support peaceful protests, so… yeah.

Alexander Albon: “I think Lewis summed it up very well. I think there is possibly quite a high chance of something happening this weekend. But we just have to wait and see and obviously more than anything, with the sport that we do, it is a bit of a concern just purely because… I think a pitch invasion is one thing but obviously with cars and moving parts and all this kind of thing, it gets a bit more dangerous to some extent. So yeah, I think on that side we’re still yet to have a meeting with the FIA about what would happen in a circumstance like that but, yeah, we just have to be prepared for it.”

Lando Norris: “I said in an interview the other day…I’m a driver at the end of the day but you have to accept what people want to do in certain situations and I understand it in certain situations, but it’s just something that I don’t think…It can’t happen at a racing event like what we have here. If it happens in – and I hope it doesn’t – but it happens in the paddock and things like that, I guess that probably causes different scenarios. But it just can’t happen on a race track because you put actual people’s lives in danger. I guess not just the people who are doing it on circuit, I don’t know if they realise the consequences of what can happen but the consequences would be pretty extreme. So I don’t know. I kind of think it’s best not to think of it but it’s happening more and more, it seems.  They have the right to do it and so forth but there’s a time and a place and that just needs to be understood because it also causes consequences for the people who are on track driving such as us. I don’t know really, but at the end of the day it just can’t happen on track. I think it’s quite simple. If it does then the consequences separately should be pretty severe, I would say.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Not so much to add actually, pretty much the same thoughts as what Lando has, that the consequences would be not so nice, so I really hope that people understand that, and like Lando said, there’s a time and place for these things and I hope people are smart.”

George Russell: “We put our trust and faith in F1 and Silverstone and the FIA. I feel that we’re all open and free to cast our views but doing it on a live Formula 1 track is pretty irresponsible and extremely dangerous for whoever the protestors are. But not only them – the drivers, the marshals who will potentially be running after people. I’d also encourage these protestors to look at the good that Formula 1 is doing on a sustainability perspective. We’re going to 100% sustainable fuels in the future. As a sport, as teams, as individuals we’re doing a huge push on the sustainability front and I think it would only be fair for them to have a look and see what we’re doing, even open conversations with us before recklessly running onto a circuit when we’re driving past at 200mph.”

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