Silverstone, 2014

2016 British Grand Prix track preview

2016 British Grand Prix

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Like Thruxton to the south and Snetterton to the east, Silverstone is one of Britain’s motor racing circuits which arose from airfields used during World War Two.

That inevitably leaves it wanting in terms of elevation change. But the wide expanses of the Northamptonshire circuit has allowed one of F1’s quickest circuits to retain much of its high-speed configuration while building in the necessary safety improvements.

Substantial changes were made to its configuration in 1991 and 2010. And while it still seems strange to watch the cars take tee start at the exit of Club instead of Woodcote, the essential character of the track which hosted the first world championship race is still with us.

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A lap of Silverstone

The lap begins with the newest portion of the circuit. Abbey and Farm form a super-quick pair of corners which may be flat out in an F1 car but can still catch drivers out – this is where Max Verstappen’s race ended last year.

Village, turn three, is a sharp right-hander which offers one of the best overtaking opportunities around the lap. The Loop, an even tighter right-hander, follow immediately afterwards.

“The first one is more open than the second one,” explains Romain Grosjean, “and the second you really want to go for as early as you can.”

Felipe Massa, Williams, Silverstone, 2015
Silverstone’s super-quick corners never fail to impress
The flat-out left-hander at Aintree bring the cars onto the Wellington Straight and a long run into Brooklands, where overtaking is possible for the supremely committed. The long right-hander of Luffield demands patience, but it is well-rewarded as the rest of the lap is a immensely fast.

Woodcote once a formidable corners but is now taken easily flat-out, though it become rather trickier in the wet. The cars pass the old (but still functioning) pits on the way to Copse, which was turn one until 2010. Drivers risk a penalty if the stray beyond the track limits at the exit of this corner.

“It’s a great sensation in the car here,” says Grosjean of the super-quick right-hander. The following five consecutive corners from Maggots to Chapel is like few other sequences on the calendar and demand incredible precision at very high speeds.

“You stay flat out as much as you can into Maggotts and Becketts, and then downshifting every corner a gear, and then you’re onto the Hanger Straight.” Stowe, another quick right-hander, follows quickly, with its exit kerb threatening to spit drivers into the barrier on the inside.

“This is another tricky one where you enter very quickly,” says Grosjean. “You want to go on the power as quick as you can, but the corner is closing down more than you think.”

Drivers pass the pit-lane entrance before braking for the slow left-hander at Vale – this quirk of the track layout explains why drivers lose less time pitting at Silverstone than at most circuits. The exit of Club, the final corner, is another point where drivers must be wary of exceeding the track limits.

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Author information

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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11 comments on “2016 British Grand Prix track preview”

  1. The map is outdated. The new sequence of corners are still not built in the map

    1. I mean, the Paddock isn’t even there…

    2. That’s google’s problem. Also if you zoom out enough, you can see the new buildings appear.

    3. I’ve been waiting for years for Google to update the aerial photography for Silverstone. Still waiting :(
      Check out Bing Maps, they have much more recent imagery: http://www.bing.com/mapspreview

      1. Same as that. That imagery is from about 2006 with the Foster’s logo at Club. Really needs an update.

        Thanks for the link by the way. Never even consider Bing before!

  2. I know there probably isn’t a logical answer for this, given the Le Mans/Baku clash. But does anyone know why they continue to put this at the same time as the Wimbledon finals. Seems strange to me.

  3. ‘The lap begins with the new portion of circuit which opened in 2011.’
    Actually those corners were present for the 2010 GP.
    @keithcollantine

  4. also
    ‘on the way to Copse, which was turn one until 2010’
    should read
    ‘on the way to Copse, which was turn one until 2011 [when turn 1 was relocated]’

  5. Stowe, another quick right-hander, follows wuickly, with ix exit kerb threatening to spit drivers into the barrier on the inside.

    Typo overload.

    You really need to hire a proofreader, @keithcollantine.

    (See @sato113‘s comments as well.)

  6. More errors:

    The Loop is a left-hander, not a right.

    ‘Hangar’ with an A.

  7. Regarding the ‘quirk of the track’ which means that a pit-stop costs you less time at Silverstone vs other tracks… Should that be something that F1 track designers consider when planning new tracks?

    The less penalty there is for pitting, the more you’d be inclined to push and lean on your tyres, with more viable variances in strategy. Just thinking out loud.

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