Silverstone apologizes for British F1 Grand Prix online ticket sales chaos

The organizers of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone have apologized and pledged to improve their ticketing system after irritating fans with the online process for the 2023 race.

Many fans were frustrated and outraged both at the difficulty of buying tickets and at the rising prices as they attempted to do so due to the new “dynamic pricing” system.

Tickets for the British GP went on sale Thursday September 15. The online system was unable to keep up with demand, with customers queuing for hours. Some were then ousted and had to start from scratch, while many found that the price of the tickets they were trying to buy had gone up by the time they finally reached the stage of their purchase.

Jon Fisher from Calne in Wiltshire, an F1 fan since the 1980s, was trying to buy tickets for £419. After being held in a queue for eight hours, he was finally able to buy them, but the price had risen to £489.

“It looks like a way for them to make more money, it’s not about fan experience,” he said. “It’s milking the customer, it’s taking advantage of the fans who have no choice but to watch F1 elsewhere in this country.”

Phil Morris, a Silverstone regular since 2014, similar experience. He was knocked out of the queue after six hours and upon reapplying his price had gone up by over £50. “We are overpriced and this will be our last year,” he said. “There is no reward for loyalty and pure marketing to make the most money possible.”

Likewise, James Smith, who has loved F1 since the age of nine, has seen his price rise in a system he has described as fundamentally unfair to fans.

When presented with their opinions, Silverstone chief executive Stuart Pringle expressed his regret at what had happened and his determination not to repeat it.

“I am extremely sorry for the frustration, upset, disappointment and anger this has caused,” he said. “We’re going to do a root-and-branch review on all of this. I’m not closing the door on doing anything differently next year, we’ll consider anything and everything. Nothing is on the table. We learned a lot of lessons and we can’t have a repeat of this year.

Pringle cited a combination of factors behind the queuing issues, with sales handled by a third-party vendor, Secutix. His system proved unable to cope with the extreme demand and suffered a payment gateway issue the same day.

Dynamic pricing, first used at a UK sporting event, was however, according to Pringle, a different issue. Silverstone’s traditional model has been to offer the lowest prices for first purchases. These then increase over the months as the number of available tickets decreases.

This year a similar process was built into the system, but he said they were caught off guard by the scale of demand. For the 2022 race, it took about five months to move the same number of tickets that sold out in two days this time. The unprecedented demand resulted in price increases that had to be implemented slowly over a period of weeks to be applied within hours.

“Not so long ago, the question was whether we could stay in business. To get to a point where we’re suddenly in Adele, the scale of Coldplay’s demand is just unimaginable,” he said. “In light of what we know now, can we use our historic model given the current popularity of F1? We have to look at that. It’s wonderful that we have had such a request, but it’s very unfortunate that our fans have been subjected to these challenges. We have to sort it out and we will. »

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