Spanish GP boss issues apology after ‘absolute carnage’

Many fans who attended the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend were left thoroughly dissatisfied with their experience.

Luis Santamaria, the boss of the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, has apologised to fans who endured a chaotic experience at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend.

In the soaring Spanish heat, spectators were being forced to stand around in extensive queues to get in and out of the circuit, and were not able to hydrate themselves due to the lack of staff and water available.

Further, the travel from Montmelo station to the circuit and back was disrupted due to the incapacity of the organisers to deal with the amount of fans that went through the gates at the sell-out weekend in Spain.

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Journalist Jennie Gow highlighted the issue on Twitter.

“I hate to moan about my very privileged life but the way the organisers have gone about parking/crowd control/fan experience/travel and logistics is like they’ve never had a race here before,” she said.

“Chaos. I hope paying fans are being treated better but I fear not!” added Gow, before asking fans on social media to tell her of their experiences.

“Absolute carnage to put it simply,” tweeted one user.

“Hours waiting for water, hardly any toilets for the 300k people there, had to leave early to avoid the ridiculous train queues to get back to Barca. Won’t be going back to the Spanish F1 again. Racing itself was wonderful not worth the chaos.”

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Another detailed that they had bought tickets as a gift, and their first time attending a race will also be their last.

“Bought tickets for my boyfriend Christmas present, he’s been an F1 fan for 14 years,” they said.

“Unfortunately we both agree this is our first and last time at a race, the 2 hour race was not worth the utter carnage on all three days.”

Formula 1 issued a statement condemning the lack of organisation during the race weekend, and warned promoters that it must improve ahead of next year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

“The huge number of fans at this event both inside and outside the circuit created the traffic issues for the fans. We have made the promoter aware that this is not acceptable and must be fixed for next season,” read the statement.

In response, Santamaria conceded that he had not prepared for the 50,000 people that attended the weekend, and apologised for the inconvenience.

“Normally, on a Friday, 18,000 people come, we thought it could be 25,000 this time but it was double that,” he said

“It is inevitable there will be some chaos when a sporting event mobilises so many people.

“But I put myself in the shoes of the fans who suffered these problems and I apologise.”

On his Notebook show, Sky Sports’ Ted Kravtiz also addressed the problem, revealing that there had been some “horror stories” of people waiting in intense heat while exposed to the sun, causing some to faint because of sun stroke and dehydration.

“They haven’t quite got it right for the fans. We’ve heard some absolute horror stories about the facilities here and making people, after qualifying, check out with their tickets through a gate,” he explained.

“That caused huge bottlenecks, delays and people trying to get on coaches back to Barcelona. Apparently, in the baking heat, it’s been really, really bad.

“There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they haven’t been used to the number of people we’ve had here, especially in the last few years. The facilities are not up to it.

“Secondly, they have been found wanting with the organisation. I think they have tried their best, but the conditions haven’t helped.

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“In this heat, it’s horrible to hear people were passing out and there was no water and everything like that.”

Max Verstappen won the race for Red Bull ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez as the Dutchman and his team took the lead in both championships.