Lando Norris has voiced stern warnings aimed at the “Just Stop Oil” activist group. This group is notorious for causing disruptions during high-profile sports events and these warnings from Norris come in light of a past incident at the British Grand Prix last year where five protestors took to the track at Wellington Straight, the fastest segment of the course, during the race’s inaugural lap.
In an episode that could have had disastrous consequences, the protestors remained on the track as cars sped past them. The dangerous situation was defused by the swift action of the Marshals, who managed to remove the protestors before any harm could befall them or the drivers. The race itself was already on hold due to a high-speed crash involving Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu.
Norris was unreserved in his criticism, stating:
“Of course, it is a concern because is a stupid thing to do to put your life in danger with cars driving around. It is also a very selfish thing to do because of the consequences it could have on the person that drives the car. Everyone has a right to protest and I guess there are good ways of doing it and worse ways. I just hope people are smart enough not to do it. There are much safer ways to get just as much attention.”
This coming weekend, a crowd of around 480,000 people is expected to descend on Silverstone for the race. Security measures are being ramped up in collaboration with the Northamptonshire Police to safeguard the event.
Stuart Pringle, Silverstone’s Managing Director, had strong words for the protestors, urging them to consider the dangers of their actions:
“The fundamental difference here is that you are not putting your life in danger when you run on the pitch at Lord’s. You are not putting your life in danger when you sit on a snooker table or protest at a flower show. A motor racing track is not the place to go. It is extraordinarily dangerous and people will be putting lives at risk if they go there, and any sensible, right-thinking person can extrapolate what the ultimate risk here is. My strong, strong message is: ‘Do not put your life in danger. This is not the place to go and sit on a floor’. It is absolute madness if someone climbs on to a live racing track. We have no specific intelligence, but we will plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
Pringle emphasised that while there are currently no specific indications of planned disruptions, the authorities are preparing for any eventuality given the history of such occurrences.