Bernie Ec­cle­stone causes chaos with Grand Prix pro­gramme shuf­fle

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

‘ We clashed with other events in 2016. Ev­ery ef­fort was made to en­sure it didn’t hap­pen again in 2017. Now this’ SIL­VERS­TONE CLAS­SIC OR­GAN­ISER

Or­gan­is­ers of three of the big­gest clas­sic events are fu­ri­ous with For­mula 1 co-or­di­na­tors for a last minute change of plans that has led to a chaotic reshuf­fle.

The Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic and Fly­wheel at Bices­ter Her­itage are all now tak­ing place on dif­fer­ent dates than planned – even though tick­ets had been sold for the Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic and the Fes­ti­val of Speed.

Good­wood changed its date be­cause of a late al­ter­ation of sched­ul­ing for the Azer­bai­jan Grand Prix. Good­wood re­lies heav­ily on For­mula 1 driv­ers and teams at­tend­ing, so had to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments.

The Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic has been forced to change its dates be­cause the new date for the Bri­tish Grand Prix meant that Sil­vers­tone would be forced to hold the Grand Prix and Clas­sic on con­sec­u­tive week­ends, some­thing which wouldn’t leave staff enough time to put the later event to­gether.

And Fly­wheel was forced into al­ter­ations be­cause the Good­wood change of date meant that the two events would clash.

Now, the teams be­hind the Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic and Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed are hav­ing to con­tact ticket hold­ers – many of whom will have to can­cel and make new ho­tel book­ings, travel ar­range­ments, and take dif­fer­ent even days off work – to tell them about the new dates. ‘It’s a mas­sive in­con­ve­nience to ev­ery­one,’ says Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic event di­rec­tor Nick Wigley. ‘This has caused a huge amount of work, in­ter­rup­tion and re-plan­ning which will cost the event money and in­come.’

Wigley adds that the 2016 Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic had clashed with other mo­tor­sport events such as CarFest North and the Snet­ter­ton round of the Bri­tish Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship. ‘Ev­ery ef­fort was made to en­sure that this didn’t hap­pen again in 2017. We sat down with the Sil­vers­tone board in July and agreed a pro­vi­sional date,’ he says. ‘Now this. Sil­vers­tone can­not stage its two big­gest events on back to back week­ends so we were forced to move back to the fi­nal week­end in July.’

Two of the live bands sched­uled for the Sil­vers­tone Clas­sic are now un­able to at­tend and there will be more sched­ul­ing con­flicts for celebri­ties at­tend­ing the event.

Good­wood’s Fes­ti­val of Speed spokesper­son Laura Gil­bert-Burke says: ‘It is a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience and it’s not the first time we have had to change the date of an event be­cause of For­mula 1.

‘ We are geared up for it but many peo­ple have al­ready bought tick­ets for the orig­i­nal date, and some may not be able to make it now.’

Richard Grafton, or­gan­iser of Bices­ter Her­itage’s Fly­wheel Fes­ti­val, says: ‘ We’ve al­ways tried to en­sure that we don’t clash with the Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed, partly be­cause par­tic­i­pants want to at­tend both. Good­wood’s move caught us by sur­prise but we re­sponded as quickly as we could. A lot of work went on be­hind the scenes to get tick­ets out on sale be­fore Christmas. Luck­ily our tick­ets weren’t on sale be­fore the change of dates.’

The Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed has changed dates be­cause the Azer­bai­jan For­mula 1 race date changed to over­lap with the orig­i­nal FoS slot in June.

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