French GP traffic arrangements "ridiculous" for F1
Traffic arrangements for the French Grand Prix have been labelled as "ridiculous" after fans and team members all faced tremendous difficulties getting into the Paul Ricard circuit on Friday.
With the infrastructure around the French circuit not ideal for a major sporting event, traffic queues stretched for several miles – and many fans gave up attending the track at all after being stuck for hours when practice was on.
Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer said that he had to cancel a business meeting after a guest ran out of time to get to the track.
"It took us two hours to go 10 miles," he said. "It was ridiculous.
"We had a guest who was flying in to have a meeting with me and then flying back. He never made it to the meeting. He had to turn around and go back to the airport.
"He phoned me and said: 'Sorry I've moved 7km in two and a half hours, my flight is at 5pm. I have to turn back.'"
Szafnauer said that the traffic issue should be a worry to F1's bosses because fans would ultimately vote with their feet if they could not stomach such a headache getting into the circuit.
"For me it is not a big issue if it takes me two hours to go 10 miles, I am going to come here anyway," he said.
"If I was a fan and on Friday it took me two and a half hours to go seven km, I might think twice, and that is the problem. To me, it doesn't matter. I am coming, it is my work.
"But the fans have choice, and they will probably choose events where it doesn't take two and a half hours to cover seven kilometres."
It wasn't just fans and team members facing problems, though, because Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean had to be forceful at a police roadblock after they were told they could not go any further.
Grosjean said: "We were driving, riding with Vettel and we got stopped by the police and we wanted to go again and the police wouldn't let us go. I had the pass, I had my T-shirt, I had everything."
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov
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|Location||Circuit Paul Ricard|