Five things you can do to support the British Grand Prix
By LJ Hutchins
Saturday, October 24th, 2009
With the news that Donington Park’s bid to stage the 2010 British Grand Prix has finally hit the rocks, and that Bernie Ecclestone doesn’t care if we get a race or not, we wouldn’t blame you for feeling frustrated, angry and frankly apathetic.
But this might be exactly the time when fans can bring a bit of pressure to bear and increase the chances of the race taking place.
We’ve put together a list of actions that you can take to show your support of the British Grand Prix in ways that might just make a difference. And they shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes, and we guarantee you’ll feel much more positive once you’ve had your say. Leave a comment if you want, saying what you’ve done.
Social networking – and beyond
Nowadays, whenever anyone gets hot under the collar the first thing they reach for is Twitter, Facebook, a button for their blog or some similar social networking idea.
Now, we’re certainly not knocking the idea of adopting a Twibbon or friending a FaceBook page – and please forward the link to this page as widely as you can – but we also advise caution when it comes to relying on these methods.
We need to take a leaf out of the book of seasoned campaigners who are finding that, while mass online campaigns can help to express the public mood, they can just as easily be ignored by decision-makers. They don’t take much effort, but they don’t usually get many results either.
Over to you
The people who do this regularly have learned that social networking needs to be combined with good old-fashioned lobbying and ‘pavement politics’. We need to send an extremely carefully-targeted message to those people who can actually influence events.
We’ve chosen five methods of attempting this. Please consider which are most appropriate for you and take action. We need to make a noise and we hope we’ve done our bit with these suggestions – now it’s over to you to yell and stamp your feet a bit.
Five things you can do that might just make a difference
- Demonstrate to Bernie that this race can still be successful
- We know there’s absolutely zero point trying to get our views heard by Formula One Management. But there might be some mileage in demonstrating that the event can be profitable, even though three months’ worth of ticket-selling time has already been wasted. If you’re on tenterhooks waiting for tickets to become available, and aiming to be at the front of the queue to buy yours, turn your anticipation into something concrete with this Pledgebank pledge. We’re aiming get people who are planning or hoping to attend the race to show their support for it in a tangible way, so please consider signing up. This is purely a symbolic gesture – no-one will come round your house and demand to see your ticket – but it could add up to a powerful show of support.
- Let Silverstone know that you want to buy a ticket
- Whether you preferred Donington, Silverstone or even an outside bet like Brands Hatch, it really is time to accept that it’s probably the old Northamptonshire airfield or bust, at least for 2010. Now, we respect the circuit’s need to come to an arrangement with Formula One management that is in its long-term commercial interest. And we know that a lot of ticket-selling time has been lost. But equally, we think it’s worth proving the strength of demand for this event. So, if you want to buy a ticket, make that clear. Let Silverstone know that you’d like to attend the race here. Ask them to inform you immediately if tickets go on sale.
- Lobby the Formula One Teams’ Association
- One of the few organisations in F1 that has shown any awareness that fans even have views – although if we are honest it has tended to be because those views accorded with its needs at the time. Even so, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said recently: “A lot of changes that have occurred in Formula One over recent years haven’t really taken into account the wishes of fans and we haven’t brought those into the thought process. And hopefully in future we will see much more of that.” So we suggest letting FOTA know that you want the British Grand Prix to stay on the calendar. Find their contact details here.
- Lobby your favourite team
- Following on from FOTA, it is worth noting that the date of the Monaco Grand Prix has just been moved by a week – because that’s what the teams needed to happen. Help convince them to bring that power to bear on our behalf. You can find contact details for all the British-based teams here and many, such as Brawn GP, Red Bull and McLaren, also maintain a presence on Twitter, Facebook or other social media sites. Let them know that their fans want to see them race in Britain next July, and ask them to help make sure the event happens.
- Contact your MP
- It’s part of your MP’s job to represent your views to ministers. And they do take a great deal of notice of ‘background noise’ – what issues are currently of concern to their constituents. So we suggest using this website to let your MP know that the future of the British Grand Prix is important to you and to ask that he or she makes sure sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is aware of that fact too. Keep it brief and polite. You might want to mention the importance of motorsport jobs to the British economy, the fact that the race is one of the country’s great sporting events, the development of important safety and eco-friendly technologies such as enhanced brake efficiency, run-flat tyres and KERS, or its potential to promote tourism and regional growth. Read this excellent post by Duncan ‘Doctor Vee’ Stephen for more ideas on presenting F1’s achievements positively to sceptics. Don’t fall prey to cynicism, this is undoubtedly worth doing – but we’ll say again, keep it brief and polite.
Tell your friends! Please pass the link to this page on to as many people as you can. Here’s a custom shortlink: http://bit.ly/8tuzJ