WOKING, England (Reuters) – McLaren Formula One driver Lando Norris urged environmental activists on Monday not to put lives in danger with ‘stupid and selfish’ protests during this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Six “Just Stop Oil” campaigners ran on to the track after an opening lap crash at last year’s race and the same group has disrupted cricket, horse racing, rugby and snooker in recent months.
Protesters scattered orange powder on the outfield at Lord’s during the second Ashes cricket test in June.
“There is a concern. It is a stupid thing to do to put your life in danger with cars driving around,” Norris told reporters at McLaren’s Woking factory at the reveal of a new one-off Google Chrome car livery for Silverstone.
“It is a very selfish thing to do at the same time because of the consequences it has on the person that drives the car if something happened.
“Everyone has a right (to protest) and I guess there are good ways of doing it and worse ways,” added the 23-year-old Briton.
“I hope people are smart enough not to do it. There are much safer ways to get just as much attention and do what they want to do.”
More than 140,000 spectators are expected on race Sunday at Silverstone.
Those demonstrators involved in last year’s protest at Silverstone were convicted in February of causing a public nuisance.
Five of them ran on to the high-speed Wellington Straight after Alfa Romeo’s Chinese driver, Zhou Guanyu, crashed and halted the July 3 race.
Cars were still driving back to the pit lane as marshals and police dragged the protesters away.
“Going to a racetrack with cars coming at 200 mph is not the way to go about it,” said Norris’s Australian team mate Oscar Piastri.
“They’ve had the consequences of their actions from last year, of course I hope it doesn’t happen again. I’m sure Silverstone will have measures in place to stop it.
“It’s obviously a bit easier and less dangerous to jump onto a cricket field than a racetrack.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)