Silverstone opens “The Wing” – its new ??28m pits and paddock

2011 F1 season

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Damon Hill, HRH the Duke of Kent, Stuart Rolt and Richard Phillips
Damon Hill, HRH the Duke of Kent, Stuart Rolt and Richard Phillips

Silverstone’s new ??28m pit and paddock complex, known as The Wing, was formally opened today by HRH the Duke of Kent.

The new pits and paddock will be ready for use next month and will be used for the British Grand Prix this year.

Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club which runs the circuit, said the new construction was essential to ensure the circuit’s future and place on the F1 calendar.

He said: “Around the world people are putting up palaces to motor racing.

“This cements the Grand Prix contract and kept Britain at the forefront of motor racing around the world.”

Unusually, the pit lane does not run level with the track. It stays flat while the tracks rises, meaning the pit wall is higher than the garages towards the end of the pits.

The pit lane exit slopes upwards and the drivers rejoin the track in the revised Abbey and Farm corners.

The old Abbey corner is no longer available for use as the previous Grand Prix circuit configuration has been decommissioned.

The repositioned start/finish line leads into Abbey. Jenson Button predicted a lot of action at the start with drivers going through the first two corners flat-out before braking for the next corner:

“Turn three is going to be interesting. The first time through with 24 cars nose-to-tail we’ll get a queue of cars on the inside, and it’s going to be who’s brave enough to go around the outside. You’ll see a lot of action.”

While Button praised the new circuit configuration, Stirling Moss couldn’t resist teasing host Jake Humphrey, saying “the original circuit was better”. “You weren’t supposed to say that”, replied Humphrey.

Derek Warwick praised how quickly the work had been completed, saying: “Three weeks ago there was no way we were having this today. This is the next phase of Silverstone.

“I don’t know if Bernie got square feet mixed up with square metres but it is rather large!”

Bernie Ecclestone was not present for the opening, but sent a statement saying the circuit’s facilities were now “state of the art”.

He added: “It’s a great shame it couldn’t have been completed ten years ago.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn hailed the changes, saying: “The history of Silverstone cannot be manufactured. We had to preserve it.

“The fact the BRDC have preserved the future of Silverstone is magnificent.”

Silverstone Wing pictures

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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49 comments on “Silverstone opens “The Wing” – its new ??28m pits and paddock”

  1. Looking good, hope it works fine.

  2. I’ve got a very good feeling about this year’s race at Silverstone. I just love the idea of having Abbey as the first corner, seeing the drivers jostle for position through the Arena section and then letting it go down the old pit straight.
    Hopefully Vettel won’t have won the title by then.

  3. I went up to Silverstone last Friday as was in the area and fancied a sneaky peak. The wing looks fanastic from the road, although they were still working on it then.

  4. So is this between Club and Abbey? I thought it was going to be between Arena and Brooklands.

  5. It’s going to be weird seeing the cars go through Copse half way through the first lap, rather than right at the start.

    Also, I wonder if anyone manages to forget that the paddock has moved and drives into the old pit lane? It wouldn’t surprise me if Jenson Button did!

    1. :D He would wouldn’t he?

  6. Sorry for the double post, but I’ve just wondered… is the new pitlane is bound to be the shortest of the season in terms of time? It looks to me like it could well be, although perhaps Montreal is even quicker. I wonder if we could be on for another 4 stopper race, depending on the tyres Pirelli provide?

    Actually, I think a comparison of pit lane lengths would make a for an interesting F1F feature. I don’t suppose those sorts of things get loads of hits, but I’m sure us true F1 Fanatics would certainly be interested

    1. +1 for the pitlane feature

      1. +1 Again. I think it holds relevance this year with the number of pit stops seen, and maybe would shed some light on tracks where being kind to your tires is especially rewarding and vice-versa.

    2. +1 i always love the unique fanaticism on here, stuff casual watchers just dont get…

    3. It’s not just the pitlane length that has to be considered, it’s the time taken to travel around the normal track from where the driver begins to decelerate to where they rejoin. Tracks that have pitlanes that cut of a significant portion of the track obviously have shorter pitlane deficit. Could be fun getting hold of the data for the time taken from entry/exit points on the track.

    4. Great idea for the pit lane comparison article.
      The Pit lane time loss looks minimal as the cars miss vale and club and go through quite an open right hander into the pit lane. And the exit looks pretty fast too

    5. Good idea for an article Ned!

    6. I knew entering, stopping and exiting cost 20-22 seconds on average, but that was when there still was refuelling. I don’t know hoe long it takes now, I guess approximately 17 seconds.

    7. There was an article about that a few months back I believe, in fact it may have been in Keith’s interview with the track designers. It was set up that way intentionally to be short and have as minimal an impact as possible on a driver’s lap time when pitting. With this year’s tires I think it’s safe to assume that will encourage all teams to take an extra stop if they’re on the fence.

      1. Yeah, that was part of the last interview with Populous Keith did.

        But to build on that and put it a wider comparison of tracks would be pretty good, I guess.

  7. On the pictures you can see the track is alot higher than the pits garages.

    How are the mechanics and all the material going to be moved to the grid before the start of the race?
    Also, they have to quickly move to the garages as the cars leave for the warm-op lap. Seems difficult with this design…

    1. i think the building has about 4 garages so maybe they wont use the end ones which are below the level of the track?

  8. Christian Briddon
    17th May 2011, 16:29

    Can’t wait for Silverstone this year as our seats are opposite the new pits.

    Should be a great weekend. :-)

  9. Keith is that not the Duke of Kent?

    1. It is, have corrected it, thanks.

      1. Damon seems to be getting pretty chummy with Royalty. Wasn’t Prince Andrew present when they opened the Arena Circuit last year ??

        I think Damon could be in with a chance of a knighthood !!

        Hard to say he wouldn’t deserve one after all the work that’s gone in.

  10. i wonder where they will put the DRS zone? into abbey would be bonkers

    1. i think it will be on the wellington straight, with the detection zone before the tight arena section

      1. I would have thought into Stowe would be more likely.

  11. HounslowBusGarage
    17th May 2011, 17:05

    Is the F1 Paddock now behind the new pits?
    If so, how do the tranporters get there – is it all to go over the Hangar Straight bridge or is there a new bridge or tunnel?

    1. How do the tranporters get there

      Helicopters for everyone.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        17th May 2011, 20:15

        Oh, that’s all right then. Mine’s on order.

  12. am I the only one sad to know that the old track has now been decommissioned? :C I like the new one, but I kinda hoped they’d keep the old one.

    1. Nooo :( My favourite corner was Bridge, playing it in F1 Challenge was lovely.

    2. Ned Flanders
      17th May 2011, 17:52

      I think they initially planned to, but presumably they couldn’t find any series that actually wanted to use it. Aside from Bridge, I doubt it’ll be missed

    3. Well, there’s no need to keep it and they can put the space reclaimed to good use, so I’m not surprised it’s gone. By getting rid of it they can position other grandstands better as well.

      And I don’t get people complaining about getting rid of Bridge. It stopped being a corner of any real interest once they turned Abbey into a chicane – and that was 17 years ago!

      1. It surely wasn’t difficult as a corner, but it was a high-speed swerve which I liked driving through in videogames. I know real life is different, but I never had the chance of driving an F1 car there :(

      2. Is it not becoming a fan zone? I thought I read that on here that they wanted it to rival ‘Henman Hill’ from Wimbledon as a fan atmosphere experience.

  13. Cluffy_Wedge
    17th May 2011, 17:27

    It’s amazing when you think how little we’ve spent compared with Abu Dhabi and such. Go British ingenuity! After all, that’s why all the teams are from here.

    1. Unless you’re a BRDC member I don’t think you mean “we”! Unlike most (possibly all) other races the government don’t put money into it.

      1. In a perfect world, this would be the case everywhere.

      2. Did the BRDC redesign the track layout also? If so they should get some of Tilke’s potential future contracts.

        Nice to see someone else picking up mis-use of the term “we”. A friend of mine uses it in relation to MUFC and it drives me mad we she does so. I rather like Ferrari to do well as a team, but I’m not a driver, mechanic, engineer, sponsor or share-holder so I don’t say “‘we’ won 6 WCC’s in a row”. End rant.

  14. I wonder this means ….

    “Arise, Sir Damon !!” ??

    Would sound rather good I think.

  15. Pit lane article sounds great. Good one Ned. It always bugged me when Murray would say a pit stop takes 25 seconds but disregard the fact the other cars still needed to cover 5 seconds of track as well!

  16. Oh, this is going to be so epic…

  17. New circuit and ‘The Wing’ looks impressive. Saw it last year under construction as I was at Club Corner. Gutted I can’t make it this year!

  18. Mouse_Nightshirt
    17th May 2011, 21:42

    All well and good, but I have one complaint.

    If the pits are lower than the track, doesn’t this prove problematic from spectators opposite the pitlane?

    1. Well I would imagine that the part of the pit that the drivers pull into is of a similar distance to the pit wall at other venues so the spectators should be able to see over the pit-wall into the box. Might even be better!

  19. It’s certainly going to be the prettiest pitlane on the calendar. With all that grass between pit lane and pit wall, I’m expecting some beautiful flowers and skilled topiary come British Grand Prix weekend.

  20. Where will the start line be situated down the straight? Thats going to be one hell of a short run into Abbey on the first lap :)

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