F1 returns after one weekend off as seven teams and two drivers take part in their home race, albeit without fans. Here are the British Grand Prix talking points.
Renault versus Racing Point
However any decision the stewards may be could be subject to appeal in which case the row could rumble on for another month at least.
Can Red Bull regain its Austrian form?
Red Bull was Mercedes’ closest rival throughout the first three races of the season but the gap was significantly greater in Hungary than it was in Austria. This surprised many, including Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who expected Red Bull to be a bigger threat in Hungary.
“I’m very surprised because Red Bull has always been a bank on the Hungaroring,” Wolff explained. “It’s a high downforce circuit that suited the car. I don’t think they had a fundamental problem in the car. I think they probably took the wrong junction somewhere in between setting up the car and bringing upgrade kit. I don’t know what it is but they are our best enemy.”
Christian Horner believes it is only a matter of ‘unlocking’ the pace within their car to narrow the gap to Mercedes. If they can’t get on terms with them this weekend, we can probably forget about anyone challenging Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas for this silverware this year.
Will it feel like the British Grand Prix?
The British Grand Prix is one of the most well-attended races of the season. It will have a very different atmosphere this weekend with the typically packed stands devoid of spectators.
Daniil Kvyat described how it feels to compete at a largely empty track. “For sure it’s different,” he said. “When you have spectators the atmosphere changes and it’s different.
“The pre-race, it’s more like a gladiator sort of show. It’s cooler, for sure, from that respect. But once I drive the car, I see only the track, there’s nothing else any more.”
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Hamilton keeps up the pressure over racism
Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton criticised FOM and the FIA’s handling of the pre-race ‘End Racism’ statement. Hamilton planned to speak with FIA president Jean Todt, who said last week he supports the six-times world champion’s impassioned stance on the subject, but has stressed the FIA must remain apolitical.
Whether the sport and its governing body have gone far enough is a question Hamilton is likely to face. The spotlight will also be on whether the sport gives drivers adequate space and time to make pre-race protests if they choose to.
Can F1 keep its closed show on the road?
Formula 1’s first three races on the road during a pandemic had to be considered a success overall. The opening rounds ran smoothly, and two positive Covid-19 tests did not disrupt proceedings.
This weekend will mark the first time the F1 ‘bubble’ has reconvened following a one-week break. Once again all personnel will be tested prior to attending the event and protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing will still be in effect. This is against a backdrop of rising Covid-19 infection rates in someone European countries where most teams are based.
F1 race director Michael Masi said he was pleased with F1’s record so far but emphasised that all involved must remain vigilant against the threat of an outbreak. “The fact that we have got through the three events with only the two cases, but effectively outside of the paddock, one thing that we all need to be conscious of is that Covid-19 is very much around us and everywhere globally,” he said.
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Over to you
Who do you think will be the team to beat in the British Grand Prix? Have your say below.
And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:
Quotes: Dieter Rencken
2020 British Grand Prix
- Ferrari did not sacrifice Vettel to help Leclerc – Binotto
- Racing Point given 15-point deduction and fined £360,000 as stewards uphold Renault protest
- Tyre not responsible for Kvyat crash, Pirelli confirms
- Di Resta to serve as McLaren’s ‘standby driver’ for Silverstone
- Missed chance to avoid Hamilton’s puncture “a mistake that could have cost us dearly”