Silverstone preparing for first of two interim Grands Prix

A large proportion of the spectators attending the British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be shuttled into the circuit by a fleet of over 800 coaches as a "park and ride" scheme has been instigated in a bid to ensure there is no repeat of the congestion which marred last year's race.

Happily, Octagon, the race's promoters who have leased the circuit from its owners the British Racing Drivers' Club, should be looking forward to a weekend of dry weather. That should finally help expunge memories of last year's Easter debacle when scenes of waterlogged car parks and mud-caked spectators attracted severe censure from FIA President Max Mosley.

Even so, this year's British Grand Prix will be the first of two "transitional" events as the circuit gears up for its most lavish ever face lift in 2003 which will see the track layout dramatically altered and a state-of-the-start pit complex built between Club corner and Abbey curve.

BRDC Secretary Roger Lane-Nott emphasized that it was a relief to have the British Grand Prix back in July not merely from the viewpoint of more pleasant conditions for the paying spectators.

"We were very concerned that another April date would have resulted in the Grand Prix being jeopardized due to the effects of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease," he said. "In those circumstances the event might have had to be cancelled, or at least run behind closed doors as a TV show without spectators."

Lane-Nott added that both Octagon and the BRDC were working extremely well in partnership and had high hopes for the race. Spectators entering the circuit will also be relieved to witness the massive civil engineering works which are in progress to construct the new Silverstone bypass and - hopefully - improve road access before the 2002 race is held.

"The BRDC has been trying to get road access improved for 15 years and the existing plan is 20 years old," said Lane-Nott with some irony.

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