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AUGUST 4, 2001

Bain speaks out against FIA warning

ROB BAIN has defended Silverstone as the FIA threatens to leave the British Grand Prix off the provisional calendar for 2002 unless it can justify the continuing traffic chaos.

The new one way system deployed for this year's race meant that by six o'clock on race morning the queues on the A43 stretched over 11 miles back towards the M1 motorway to the east and the full 14 miles to the western M40 motorway, taking over 90 minutes to reach the circuit from the nearby town of Towcester - less than a 10-minute drive when traffic is flowing.

The case was highlighted by the following German Grand Prix, when the traffic flow into the Hockenheim-Ring was greatly improved by local park and ride systems the opening of clear routes for labeled traffic.

Bain is awaiting improvement when the four-lane Silverstone bypass is completed, which is confidently expected by the local authorities to reach its original June 28 deadline next year, three weeks before the Grand Prix.

"It's going to be close because foot and mouth delayed everything by about 12 weeks when construction was stopped," said Bain, although neither the local authorities or contractors believe that the effect of the livestock epidemic had somewhat less of an effect on progress.

"I found it very sensationalist," said Bain of the coverage given to the story. "I'd have preferred the story not to run."

Local residents are beginning to grow irritated at Silverstone Circuit's assertion that the bypass is anything to do with the Grand Prix. "It is a bypass for the village that we have been waiting for over 20 years to see," said one. "It's intended to make the roads safer for village residents and to improve the flow of traffic from the M1 and M40."

There is some speculation that the bypass issue is being used to exert pressure on the British government to approve the funding to turn the Dadford Road access from the A43 to the circuit into a four lane highway, and to build a proper junction and spur road. Without these additional measures, wits have pointed out, the bypass will simply allow people to reach the traffic jams faster.