Intruder Charged with Aggravated Trespass

Police arrested the 56-year-old demonstrator who risked death by running down the track during the British Formula One Grand Prix today.

Intruder Charged with Aggravated Trespass

Police arrested the 56-year-old demonstrator who risked death by running down the track during the British Formula One Grand Prix today.

The man was charged with "aggravated trespass". He will be interviewed by police later on Sunday in Northampton, central England.

The man wandered down the middle of the track on lap 12 as cars roared past at about 200 km/h on the entrance to Hangar Straight, the fastest part of the circuit. He was dragged off the circuit and bundled to the ground by a marshal as the safety car came out.

Silverstone, seen by many as the track with the poorest facilities in Europe, suffered an infamous track invasion in 1992 when thousands of fans swarmed on to the circuit after Briton Nigel Mansell won his home Grand Prix.

Cars accelerate to a maximum of 300 km/h on the Hangar Straight. The danger was that as the man got closer to the curve, the drivers had less time to react.

In 1977 British driver Tom Pryce was killed at the South African Grand Prix when he collided with a marshal who was running across the track with a fire extinguisher. The marshal also died.

The demonstrator's garb was a possible reference to Scot Jackie Stewart, president of the British Racing Drivers Club which owns the circuit.

War of Words

The former World Champion has been involved in a war of words with the sport's top officials over the suitability of Silverstone for Formula One.

Both Max Mosley, president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone have been critical of the circuit, with Ecclestone last year calling the British GP "a country fair masquerading as a world event".

Stewart said earlier this month that he was baffled by their criticism and portrayed the views of Ecclestone and Mosley as "vicious". Mosley counter-attacked last Thursday, denying the "vicious" accusation.

"We just want to see a proper circuit," he said. "I can't go along - and nor can Bernie - with the idea that so long as Silverstone isn't demonstrably the worst circuit in the world then everything is alright.

"I believe it should be demonstrably the best circuit in the world and the money is there to do it. There is no doubt they could raise the money and they should do it."

At the 2000 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim a spectator wandered around the course and crossed the track in front of oncoming cars.

The man, an unidentified 47-year-old Frenchman, told police he was protesting his dismissal for health reasons by Mercedes-Benz after 20 years of service. The track filed trespassing charges against the Frenchman.

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