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The British Grand Prix - General Admission Experience

Written by Archie O’Reilly, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

One common theme through the British Grand Prix was that the drivers who appeared on the main stage for interviews were all utterly staggered by the sea of supporters that greeted them as they flocked there in their tens of thousands. Lando Norris, for one, was reluctant to leave the stage for the final time on the night of the race day.

The drivers unanimously agreed that it was like nothing else they ever see across the course of a Formula One season, and they were all quick to detail the great extent to which fans make the Silverstone event complete. There is passion like few other places.

For drivers and fans alike, the Silverstone race weekend never fails to be memorable - even from the bottom of the pile in terms of the crowd through those with general admission tickets, which I have personally experienced over the last couple of years.

Unfortunately, there remains an overriding issue of ticket prices being extortionate, having risen exponentially in recent years, including to over £300 for the bottom bracket, general admission tickets. This obviously serves as an issue given the event can be inaccessible to some.

When you factor in accommodation and other amenities, it can be more profitable to go to a race abroad for British fans. But guess what? When you attend Silverstone once, the experience just lures you back in. Sadly, the ticket prices can be hiked when the event continues to be sold out and attendance records broken.

The podium ceremony was abuzz with two home drivers finishing in the top three

General admission ticket holders don’t get the privilege of watching from grandstands, including now on Friday, which serves as a change compared to previous years, when there were admittedly no issues that seemed to necessitate change. When the stands look fairly sparse at times as track action gets underway for the weekend, especially F1 practice, on a Friday, it isn’t the greatest look.

Still, though, without grandstand access, there remains a plethora of vantage points to watch from, with no real bad position around the track given Silverstone’s pedigree as a circuit.

These ticket holders can get a view into Copse, then through the Maggots, Becketts and Chapel complex, for instance, which is probably the most exhilarating section of the track to watch qualifying from. There are also many viewing areas near overtaking opportunities, such as around Brooklands, Luffield and Woodcote, plus from Stowe into Vale and Club near the end of the lap.

It can be tiring walking around the outside of the 5.891 kilometre circuit, but the pain is worthwhile to experience a myriad of different parts of the track. There are some excellent places you can find to get footage of the cars in full flow, such as a narrow gap beneath a fence by Becketts, where you really come to appreciate the speed.

The narrow gap in the fence at Becketts gives you a full view of the speeds of F1 cars

A downside of not being in a grandstand is the lack of seating or a cover. You will need a camp chair to sit on once settled on one of the viewing mounds, and an umbrella is probably also necessary - to protect from both sun and rain given the unpredictability of British weather.

However, one thing that cannot be disputed about general admission viewing areas is the brilliant atmosphere, with rapturous support for the home favourites, particularly prevalent as Norris and Lewis Hamilton sealed the first double British podium at the British Grand Prix since 1999.

Wherever you are watching from, a screen showing the race is never too far away, supplemented with informative commentary to update you on the goings-on. Insight and access behind-the-scenes is also offered by the Track TV coverage.

Aside from where you are seated, general admission tickets do get you most of the same perks as grandstand tickets, such as to displays like the Red Arrows pre-race, which is a nerve wracking yet fascinating affair all in one. Adding to that, once the race is over, general admission ticket holders find themselves in pole position for post-race track access.

The flight show before the race

The track walk after the race is an undoubted highlight of the experience, giving a close-up view of the podium ceremony and many broadcasters, often interviewing drivers, in the pit lane. If patience prevails, there is every chance you could feature on Ted’s Notebook on Sky Sports too.

Certain things will never fail to amaze, such as the sheer size of the kerbs and depth of the gravel traps, plus the volume of tyre marbles, which make for a good souvenir.

To the organisers’ credit, they cater fairly well for the masses too. There is an abundance of campsites within walking distance, plus lots of space for parking. Further, there is a diverse range of food, albeit expensive to the extent you may be best bringing your own, and lots of places to buy merchandise, as well as facilities around every portion of the track.

Everything is done with sustainability in mind too, with recycling points as well as places to refill reusable water bottles to prevent waste.

There is plenty of efficiency in terms of entering the track – at least when you get in early enough – which is certainly worthwhile to make the most of every day.

The experience goes further than the on-track action, with plenty of entertainment, such as on the main stage, where there are live podcasts, concerts and, as previously mentioned, driver interviews. The driver appearances are an excellent way to bring you closer to your motorsport heroes, many whom people will only watch on television all year round.

There is always something going on to occupy the hoards that flock to the track, with the fan zone also offering loads of activities, including pit stop practice and simulators to drive on.

Whether it be the Porsche Supercup, Formula Three, Formula Two or F1, the track action never seems to disappoint either.

You are ultimately left feeling quite deflated once the Silverstone race weekend concludes. This simply emphasises what an exceptional experience the British Grand Prix is, from general admission upwards. The instant it is over, the countdown for the next year begins.


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