Silverstone boss to carry on after rain trouble

09 Jul 2012 11:16:52

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Silverstone's managing director has vowed to carry on in his job as the circuit started counting the cost of last weekend's rain-marred British Grand Prix.

More than 25,000 spectators were told to go home on Saturday because of flooded grass car parks and campsites Friday at the central England circuit.

However, the track did accommodate all ticket holders on Sunday's raceday and even the circuit's detractors, including Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, accepted there was not much organisers could have done when the wettest June in England on record was followed by heavy downpours on Friday and Saturday.

But the circuit is facing a possible seven figure pay-out after pledging to refund any unused Friday and Saturday tickets.

At one stage, Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips considered his position but on Monday he said he wanted to stay in the post.

"On Friday night I was pretty emotional and I take it personally, I take it seriously," he said.

"I did think 'should I be in charge? Is it sustainable?' But I have always wanted to see it through.

"I love this place, there is a long way to go with it, we have come a long way but it's a great circuit and I am lucky to have the job I have got, I would love to be here next year."

Silverstone is looking for fresh funding to upgrade its facilities further and Phillips said: "It (the weekend) makes it very important (to find new investment) but we have to get the right one.

"The interest is there, these are very expensive places to run and having someone come in with some extra cash would be fantastic. It would enable us to do better things."

Ecclestone, so often a vociferous critic of Silverstone in the past -- and notably when the track was hit by a similar weekend of muddy chaos due to rain in 2000 -- said the circuit was not to blame for the British summer weather.

"I'm really, really upset for the fans, but in reality if it was you running the race what would you do? For the people of Silverstone, what could they have done? They probably couldn't predict the rain."

Since agreeing a 17-years contract with Ecclestone in 2009, Silverstone has spent heavily on a series of major improvements including new pits and paddock facilities, a revised layout and much-improved traffic access.

Friday's traffic chaos and the floods revised bad memories of 2000, when the race was held in April, but Ecclestone said: "Honestly I don't think anyone expected the amount of rain we had.

"You might as well say why didn't the councils in all these different places throughout England do something?

"I looked on the TV and saw the places flooded, the houses flooded, shops flooded, people abandoning cars. I didn't expect to see that either."

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