Spanish Grand Prix 2022: Crowd management issues cause chaos, F1 news

The Spanish Grand Prix was thrown into turmoil over the weekend as thousands on fans squeezed into Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Spanish Grand Prix was thrown into “chaos” over the weekend as hundreds of thousands of fans flocked to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the highly-anticipated Formula 1 race.

Barcelona hosted F1 races in 2020 and 2021, albeit with heavy crowd restrictions due to Covid-19 protocols, and this weekend’s grand prix marked a long-awaited return to full capacity.

However, it quickly became apparent that Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, which has hosted F1 races since its inception in 1991, was not adequately prepared for the 300,000 fans that attended the sold-out event.

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There were reports of severe congestion on access roads around the circuit, with hundreds of fans struggling to find a parking space.

The Montmelo train station reportedly struggled to accommodate spectators travelling to and from the city centre during peak hours, while absurdly large queues formed around the limited food vendors and toilets.

To make matters worse, Barcelona temperatures exceeded 35 degrees over the weekend, with reports claiming some fans were fainting while queuing at the venue.

Social media was flooded with complaints from furious fans, with videos and photos offering a glimpse of the carnage.

Motorsports journalist Jennie Gow said she had heard “horror stories” from fans, tweeting: “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. Chaos. I hope paying fans are being treated better but I fear not!”

F1 released a statement on Monday morning AEST saying: “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.”

Red Bull phenom Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix to take the lead in the drivers’ standings after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was forced out of the race.

Leclerc, who started on pole position, appeared to be cruising towards victory before his engine suddenly lost power on Lap 27, forcing him to retire and return to the pits.

Meanwhile, it was another underwhelming result for Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, who once against finished out of the points in 12th after starting the race in ninth.

“It wasn’t a good race today. I’d love to find something positive, but it was just a struggle from the start,” he said.

“I was slow, and I simply had a lot less grip than everyone else around me.

“With the three stops, we had four chances on different sets of tyres, but we didn’t have the pace on any of them. I’m not really sure why, to be honest, so we’ll try to have a look and understand it. Hopefully, we can get on top of it as the upgrades we brought were good.”

Spanish Grand Prix results

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

3) George Russell, Mercedes

4) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

5) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

6) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo

7) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

8) Lando Norris, McLaren

9) Fernando Alonso

10) Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Tauri

Originally published as ‘Not acceptable’: Fans tell ‘horror stories’ as packed F1 race turns into chaos

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