**Important statement from Northamptonshire Police, Silverstone Circuit and the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association**
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Northamptonshire Police, Silverstone Circuit and the Chairman of the BHPA – Marc Asquith, are issuing an important message ahead of the 2021 F1 British Grand Prix.
In recent weeks, Northamptonshire Police has issued media appeals to identify paramotor pilots flying over the South Northants area. The reason for this is that a number of them have been flying at a low altitude around the racetrack and whilst the motivations of these pilots are currently unknown, the Force must consider their potential intent to land during the race weekend with the recent flights having been test runs.
This concern is heightened by the recent landing of a paraglider during the Germany vs France football match at the Euro 2020 tournament which resulted in two people being hospitalised.
Detective Chief Inspector Johnny Campbell, said: “If there are individuals out there considering flying in the area of Silverstone Circuit this weekend, I would strongly urge them to reconsider.
“We have seen recently at the European Football Championships how things can go horribly wrong and people can get hurt. We do not want this to happen here.
“During the British Grand Prix, Silverstone essentially becomes an extremely busy airport with television helicopters, military air traffic and commercial flights frequently using the airspace. This, coupled with Formula 1 cars going around the track at speeds of over 200mph, makes for an exceptionally dangerous environment for this kind of activity.
“Please do not put yourself or others at risk.
“Significant resource on the ground, in the air, and in technical capabilities, has been put in place to spot, monitor and detain any violations of air space during this event.”
Marc Asquith, commented: “At this stage, there is no way of knowing whether the flights observed were rehearsals for a protest at the Grand Prix, or simply a small number of innocent pilots misguidedly having fun.
“The BHPA does not welcome the use of paramotors in protest stunts, we have fought long and hard to obtain our freedoms to fly and such protests put these freedoms at risk. Similarly, recreational pilots engaging in low flying might now realise the concerns that they unintentionally raise. These pilots also put at risk our freedoms to fly.”
DCI Campbell added: “I am grateful of the support from the BHPA and am aware that previous articles released caused some concern among this community. Northamptonshire Police will continue to work closely with the BHPA and Silverstone Circuit to investigate this issue.”
Northamptonshire Police is also reminding people that drones are prohibited throughout the F1 race weekend and the Civil Aviation Authority has imposed a flight restriction for the entirety of the Grand Prix period. Specialist drone detection equipment will quickly identify and stop anybody attempting to fly a drone and action against them will be taken.