Just Stop Oil eco zealots storm Silverstone track to protest British Grand Prix before huge crash on opening lap
Just Stop Oil eco zealots have stormed the track of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
It comes after Northamptonshire Police said it had this week received ‘credible intelligence’ that a group of activists were planning to target the Formula 1 event.
Pictures from trackside showed a small group of protesters, each wearing an orange top, sitting in the middle of the track before being forcibly removed by police.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle told the broadcast that ‘there were several people who attempted to enter the track and were immediately removed’.
Pictures from trackside showed a small group of protesters, each wearing an orange top, sitting in the middle of the track before being forcibly removed
The people on the track are believed to be Louis McKechnie, 21, from Weymouth, Bethany Mogie, 40, from St Albans, Joshua Smith, 29, a bricklayer from Manchester, and Alasdair Gibson, 21, from Aberdeen.
Following the incident, Just Stop Oil tweeted: ‘A group of supporters of Just Stop Oil have stormed the track at #BritishGP2022.
‘If you are more outraged about this disruption than our world being burnt before our eyes, then you need to get your priorities straight.
‘We demand the government calls an immediate halt to new oil and gas projects in the UK and we will continue to disrupt sports, cultural events and oil until this demand is met.
‘How many more young people have to step up before the government will listen?’
The group ran onto the track during the first lap of the race, before a huge crash took place between Britain’s George Russell and Zhou Guanyu.
The pair started eighth and ninth on the grid, and their two cars collided as they tried to go around the first corner, which caused them to go flying off the track.
Russell was able to leave his car quickly and appeared unharmed, but Zhou’s car rolled over, leading to the Brit rushing over to help him.
Racing was immediately red flagged and brought to a halt as Guanyu was stretchered from the scene.
The FIA has since reported that the Alfa Romeo star is ‘conscious and being evaluated at the medical centre.’
Ambulances pictured on the Silverstone circuit after Mercedes’ George Russell and Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou were involved in a huge crash during the opening lap
The group ran onto the track during the first lap of the race
Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups which aim to ensure the Government commits to halting new fossil fuel licensing and production.
On their website, the group pledged to target the UK’s oil and gas infrastructure using non violent direct action if the Government failed to stop fossil fuel licensing and production by March 14 2022.
Silverstone’s event commander, Chief Inspector Tom Thompson, said on Friday: ‘We have received credible intelligence that a group of protesters are planning to disrupt the event and possibly invade the track on race day.
‘First of all, I want to appeal directly to this group of people and strongly urge you to not put yourselves, the drivers, as well as the many marshals, volunteers and members of the public, at risk.
‘Going onto a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you go ahead with this reckless plan you are jeopardising lives.
‘Protesting is of course everyone’s human right in this country and we are more than happy to speak with you to help you facilitate a peaceful protest at the circuit, we just please ask that you do not create a situation that puts lives in danger.’
Northamptonshire Police said it bought in ‘extra resources’ to try to prevent any incursions on the track during this year’s event.
Chief Inspector Thompson added: ‘We are very experienced in the policing of this event having done so over a number of years but let me make this clear – this doesn’t make us complacent.
‘Finally, I would just appeal to members of the public to be extra vigilant and to make us aware of anything you see during the race weekend that doesn’t look right. We would rather get a well-meaning report that turns out to be nothing, than not receive one at all.
‘If you see or suspect anything suspicious, please report it to a member of the police or security.’
Last month, Extinction Rebellion protesters walked onto the racecourse at Royal Ascot and chained themselves to a fence on the event’s final day.
And on June 2, up to 25 green fanatics were booed by crowds as they attempted to smash through security measures along the Mall at the start of the Jubilee.
Incredibly two of the protesters – who were from Animal Rebellion – were able to sit in the middle of the Mall as the marching band approached.