CLASSIC EVENTS FORCED TO CHANGE DATES FOR F1
Bernie Ecclestone causes chaos with Grand Prix programme shuffle
‘ 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.