It’s that time of year again where the inhabitants of Northamptonshire get stuck in traffic and get woken up by 12,000rpm engines revving. Yes, it’s the British Grand Prix…
Formula One hits the halfway mark of the season this weekend at a significantly revised Silverstone circuit for the British grand prix.
The new Arena layout at the Northamptonshire circuit includes a fast right-hander at Abbey and a new infield section that is hoped will boost overtaking.
The circuit includes a re-profiled Club corner, a fast right-hander at Abbey, a new infield section and the use of the National straight which has now been renamed Wellington straight.
Autocar magazine asked five drivers what they thought about the new, faster layout of the Northamptonshire circuit.
Jenson Button, McLaren
“It’s amazing that the team and us, two Brits, are heading into Silverstone first and second in the championship. We’re also heading into that race with an update for the car. We didn’t have anything new on the car at Valencia but still came away with a reasonable result. I’ve always loved Silverstone and can only imagine that the track changes will play to the strengths of our car.”
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
“Silverstone is a huge challenge and a very important fixture on the calendar for me. It has a real buzz. It’ll be fascinating to see how the new track settles in. The new Abbey right-hander looks like the fast turn seven at Nürburgring and I think there will be a possibility of grabbing a tow coming up to it from Club.”
Mark Webber, Red Bull
“The track hasn’t changed massively and it’s still going to be a brilliant circuit. The changes they’ve made have been mainly for overtaking. They kept all the good stuff; obviously Bridge was a nice corner, but you can’t have everything. The first section of the lap is superb — we’ve always known that, and they haven’t touched that part. The kink off the back straight [the new Abbey], that looks very quick.”
Robert Kubica, Renault
“At the moment I don’t know a lot about the new section that has been modified. I will probably search for some videos of the track on the internet and, of course, I’ll walk the track on Thursday. It’s challenging going through new corners as you have to discover the grip levels and the line on the limit very quickly, so the first few laps there on Friday morning will be very interesting.”
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
“I’m sure the new circuit will provide a great show. It will be interesting to see precisely how quick it will be at the end of the day and we will have a lot of work to do determining tyre wear levels and what strategies and set-ups will be best for us, so I’m looking forward to getting there.”
Lewis Hamilton leads the championship by six points, ahead of his McLaren teammate Jenson Button, after taking two wins and a second place at the last three rounds.
McLaren leads the constructors’ championship, but the Woking-based team will be under threat from a resurgent Red Bull.
Sebastian Vettel dominated the last race in Valencia and Red Bull is expected to take full advantage of Silverstone’s sweeping bends with its aero-efficient RB6, as it did last year when the team secured a dominant one-two.
If you’re pining for British success after the disappointments of the World Cup and Wimbledon, the Castrol Rankings suggest that you could find some solace in the British GP as British drivers currently lead the way.
So who do you want to win? We’re rooting for the Brits, but where does your allegiance lie? Leave a comment below and let us know…