Silverstone expands British GP crowd capacity, aims for 150,000

Silverstone is set for record crowds for this year's Formula 1 British Grand Prix after working with the FIA to create additional general admission areas, Autosport can reveal

Silverstone expands British GP crowd capacity, aims for 150,000

The Northamptonshire venue is aiming for a race-day crowd of just over 150,000, and with a three-day attendance pushing 400,000 for the July 8-10 event.

It is part of the latest set of initiatives of managing director Patrick Allen, who has turned around the fortunes of the circuit following regular annual losses, last year recording a profit for the first time in 10 years of £1.2million.

"In terms of general admission, the initial capacity [of 30,000] for Sunday was sold out, but we are going to increase that by another 10,000 to 40,000," Allen told Autosport.

"We have been working with [FIA race director] Charlie Whiting to see if we could move barriers and catch-fencing to create extra space.

"What I didn't want to do was just cram in another 10,000 and ruin the experience of those standing. They would be too crushed, and we are always mindful of the safety of people.

"The one thing we are not short of at Silverstone is space, but we needed permission to see how we moved around some of the fencing without causing any overt danger.

"Charlie is happy and has OK'd all our plans."

The fencing is to be moved in several areas, with options including Becketts, down what is now the National circuit pits straight and Abbey.

Silverstone has also acquired a further 600 seats, taking over a third of what has traditionally been the British Racing Drivers' Club grandstand at Abbey.

TEXT-TO-WIN PLAN

Allen has been working with Bernie Ecclestone on how to further generate revenues that would benefit both the F1 supremo and the circuit.

"I've applied a different tack to previous regimes because what he doesn't like is if you go to him with a begging bowl saying you can no longer afford the race and asking to renegotiate the contract," said Allen.

"That's a non-starter of a conversation with him, so my approach has been that we have signed a contract, and whether we like it or not it is there.

"So I've said to him 'How do we deals for Formula 1 and help each other within the boundaries of that contract?', which he is more responsive to.

"So another initiative we are launching within the next couple of weeks is a text-to-win competition.

"What he is allowing is for 10 couples - so 20 people - to get paddock passes. Of those, five couples will get access to the Paddock Club, with two couples then watching the race from the garages, which is a money-can't-buy experience.

"That shows his innovative thinking and his support of Silverstone, so he is still very much behind us as a circuit."

Each text is to cost £2.50, with Silverstone understood to be taking a 40 per cent cut. Ecclestone has not yet requested his percentage.

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