SEPTEMBER 6, 2001
Britain's MSA calls investigation into GP traffic
THE governing body of British motor sport, the Motor Sport Association (MSA) has taken action to stymie the threat to the British Grand Prix's existence caused by complaints over the traffic system.
Judge Graham Stoker, the MSA judicial committee chairman, will head the investigation that has been called by his chief executive Colin Hilton following demands from the FIA to explain why the traffic flow at this year's event was so poor.
The Northamptonshire Police have taken exception to reports that the queues on the A43 main artery to the circuit reached as far as 10 miles towards both the M1 and M40 motorways, but there are many race goers who testify to that fact. Furthermore the back routes in to the circuit for circuit staff and those working at the event were incorporated into the new traffic plan, meaning that many were late arrivals for work on raceday.
FIA president Max Mosley forwarded complaints to the MSA to seek an explanation from the Grand Prix promoters Octagon, who have taken both the rights to the event and the lease of Silverstone Circuit. Now the MSA has decided to launch its own enquiry as Formula 1 seeks to shed up to three European race dates in order to safeguard the future of the event.
"We suggested to FIA president Max Mosley that it might be helpful for the MSA, as the local governing body, to enter into an enquiry to determine the real traffic situation," said MSA boss Hilton.
Northamptonshire County Council is currently building a bypass that makes the A43 a four-lane highway running between the M1 and M40 motorways, but at present there are no plans for a spur road to the main gate of Silverstone Circuit. The 'Silverstone Bypass' is intended to improve traffic flow and safety for Silverstone village, and the circuit has long been aware that if it is to have a spur road of its own it must find the required funding.
British Racing Drivers' Club president Sir Jackie Stewart is currently lobbying the British government to pay for the spur road due to the national importance of the Grand Prix as a part of the $80 million of government funding that he, Octagon and Bernie Ecclestone are seeking.