George Russell sends warning as Army deployed at British GP

Mercedes driver George Russell has sent a stern warning ahead of the 2023 British GP.

With the British Grand Prix at Silverstone approaching, concerns have been raised about potential track invasions by protest groups. 

Environmental activist group Just Stop Oil had previously disrupted the 2022 race, and Northamptonshire Police has issued a warning to anyone planning unlawful activity at the event. 

Drivers, including George Russell, have expressed their concerns about the dangers posed by such actions and called for peaceful dialogue instead.

Russell warned a track invasion would be “irresponsible and extremely dangerous”, not only for the protestors but also for drivers, motorsport marshals, and event stewards. 

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He stressed the importance of trusting Formula 1, Silverstone, and the FIA to handle such situations appropriately. 

Russell encouraged protestors to consider the positive impact Formula 1 is making in terms of sustainability, highlighting the sport’s commitment to transitioning to 100% sustainable fuels in the future. 

He suggested that engaging in open conversations rather than recklessly invading the circuit would be more productive and safe.

“We put our trust and faith in F1 and Silverstone and the FIA,” Russell said.

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“I feel that we’re all open and free to cast our views but doing it on a live Formula 1 track is pretty irresponsible and extremely dangerous for whoever the protestors are.

“But not only them – the drivers, the marshals who will potentially be running after people.

“I’d also encourage these protestors to look at the good that Formula 1 is doing on a sustainability perspective. We’re going to 100% sustainable fuels in the future.

“As a sport, as teams, as individuals we’re doing a huge push on the sustainability front and I think it would only be fair for them to have a look and see what we’re doing, even open conversations with us before recklessly running onto a circuit when we’re driving past at 200mph.”

The British Grand Prix is expected to attract a crowd of 480,000 people, prompting authorities to deploy additional resources to address potential threats. 

Uniformed officers, plain-clothes detectives, armed officers, volunteers, and community support officers will be present. 

The police have also been granted enhanced powers under the Public Order Act 2023.

Northamptonshire Police event commander Detective Superintendent Richard Tompkins stated that a “ring of steel” would be established around the circuit perimeter. 

The police have a comprehensive plan in place to manage any incidents and ensure the safety of attendees. 

“We have a robust policing plan in place for this year’s event and there will effectively be a ring of steel around the circuit with additional officers on duty to manage any incident,” Tompkins said confidently.

While acknowledging the public’s right to engage in peaceful protest, Tompkins stressed that criminal acts and endangering lives would not be tolerated. 

“Northamptonshire Police respects the long-standing right of the public to engage in peaceful protest, but when lives are endangered, and criminal acts are committed, including significant disorder or disruption to the law-abiding public, local community, and businesses, we will intervene and promptly make arrests,” he added.

Prompt arrests would be made in response to significant disorder or disruption.

Tompkins urged potential protestors to consider peaceful alternatives and expressed the police’s willingness to facilitate peaceful protests. 

He recalled the dangerous incidents that occurred during last year’s event and emphasized the need to avoid a repeat of such reckless actions. 

Tompkins also called upon race-goers to assist in maintaining a safe and crime-free environment, encouraging them to report any suspicious activities and contribute to an enjoyable experience for all attendees.

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“I would also like to take this opportunity to appeal directly to anyone who is planning to attend Silverstone to invade the track or cause any other unlawful disruption to this event,” he said.

“We are more than happy to speak with you to help facilitate a peaceful protest and want to avoid a repeat of the reckless actions at last year’s event which put lives in danger.

“Finally, with more than 450,000 extra pairs of eyes at the venue over the four days, we would like help from the public to ensure that everyone attending the race event leaves the venue having had a crime-free, safe, and enjoyable experience.”