Just Stop Oil protestors invade the British Grand Prix track, risk their lives

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Just Stop Oil silverstone protestors

During the 2022 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Just Stop Oil protestors invaded the track and sat down on the circuit as the F1 cars went past, risking their lives.

Here’s a look at how events unfolded that day.

Just Stop Oil

Just Stop Oil are a group of climate protestors confronting the use of fossil fuels. They class themselves as a ‘nonviolent civil resistance group’ who want the UK government to stop licensing new oil, gas and coal projects, for the benefit and longevity of our planet and its environment.

Their civil resistance usually involves disrupting public gatherings, delaying road networks, the occasional bit of criminal damage and interrupting sporting events. In doing so they normally face the full force of the public’s outrage, making themselves very unpopular.

They decided they would protest at the 2022 British Grand Prix, held at Silverstone.

2022 British Grand Prix

The start of the 2022 British Grand Prix saw the incredibly scary Zhou Guanyu crash take place. Just after the lights went out the Chinese driver made contact with George Russell and was flipped upside down. He skidded along his roof all the way to the barriers, which he ended up rolling over.

Just as that was happening at the first corner, further around the circuit the protestors made their move.  

The protestors leap in to action

Right next to the bridge that’s half way along the Wellington Straight, six protestors jumped the fence and then leapt over the barriers on to the circuit, just as the cars were coming past.

The video below shows the moment they jump the barrier on to the circuit. Listen closely and you can hear what the British public thought of the protestor’s actions!

Thankfully, Zhou’s horrendous crash immediately brought out the red flags. That meant that by the time the cars reached the protestors they had all slowed down as the race had been stopped.

The protestors sat themselves down on the left hand side of the track as the drivers went past them slowly. Had the crash not happened and the race still been underway, the Formula 1 cars would have been doing close to 200mph along the straight. They would have had almost no time to react and it could have ended up with a horrendous situation.

Here’s what it looked like from Carlos Sainz’ car:

The marshals are the heroes

As soon as the last car had made its way past the orange-clad protestors, the marshals sprung in to action. Wasting no time they grabbed, dragged and flung the protesters off the circuit. 

The TV broadcast didn’t show any of this as the focus was on Zhou’s crash. Plus they didn’t want to give the protestors the air time they so craved.

But the video below shows the moment they were forcibly and rightfully removed from the circuit.

Jail sentences

The police were very quickly called on to the scene and arrested all six protestors. At a court hearing, three were given suspensded jail sentences and the other three were given community orders, all for causing a public nuisance.

I really wonder if the six of them know how lucky they were that the red flags were already out by the time they got on track.

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport guides based on my own experience as a racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who want to learn more about racing.

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