Seven arrested for track invasion protest at Silverstone

Zak Mauger/Motorsport Images

Seven arrested for track invasion protest at Silverstone

Formula 1

Seven arrested for track invasion protest at Silverstone

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Seven people have been arrested for invading the track on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, Northamptonshire Police have confirmed.

The police force had warned of a potential protest earlier in the weekend, having received information that it could involve a track invasion during the race. Warning of how dangerous the plan was, the police made a public plea for the protestors not to do so, but those messages were ignored as a number ran onto the track after the majority of the field came through on the first lap.

In a bizarrely fortunate twist, the race was red flagged just as the protest had begun unfolding due to a massive crash for Guanyu Zhou, with the Chinese driver stuck between the catch fence and barrier after sliding upside down into the gravel trap and then being flipped over the tire wall. Zhou was taken to the medical centre but later cleared and released.

Event Commander, Chief Inspector Tom Thompson, says the protest — claimed as Just Stop Oil supporters — put lives at risk and has led to seven arrests.

“I’m really disappointed that this group of people ignored our warnings prior to race day and made the incredibly dangerous decision to enter the track,” Thompson said. “We offered to facilitate a peaceful event at the circuit but they instead chose to put the lives of the drivers, marshals and volunteers at risk. It is incredibly disappointing that anyone would make the decision to do this.

“Thankfully we had plans in place for an eventuality such as this and the group were swiftly removed and arrested by our officers. All seven are currently in custody where their details are being ascertained.

“Finally, I would like to thank all of the officers and staff, as well as our partners, who have worked tirelessly on this policing operation. Generally we have had very low crime rates. Today’s incident was dealt with effectively and efficiently, and I could not have asked for more.”

After the race, Lewis Hamilton backed the activists for standing up for their beliefs, although did not comment on the danger of the protest itself despite being pressed.

“Big up those guys,” Hamilton said when informed who had protested. “I didn’t know what the protestors were for, so I only just found out. I just said big up the protestors. I love that people are fighting for the planet, so we need more people like them.”

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