Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2022

Who will gain most from F1’s new tyres? Six British Grand Prix talking points

2023 British Grand Prix

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Most of the 10 teams on the grid will have their shortest distance to travel to any round of the season this weekend as Formula 1 heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.

Last year’s race was a thriller that saw Carlos Sainz Jnr take sole career victory to date after Max Verstappen’s chances of victory were ended by debris caused by a clash between both AlphaTauri drivers.

But this weekend sees a major element of the racing – the tyres – undergoing a change that could impact on how the rest of the season plays out. Here are this weekend’s talking points as Formula 1 heads to Silverstone.

Fresh rubber

Pirelli’s F1 tyres are always a highly sensitive element of the racing in the series as managing degradation and keeping the rubber within its narrow operating window are critical to success in the sport. Get either wrong and it’s easy to get swallowed up by the pack – especially this season when the field is as close as it is, behind Red Bull at least.

Subtle tweaks to tyres can make a big difference
Which is why this weekend will be an especially important one as tyre suppliers Pirelli will introduce a revised construction of their 2023 tyres that will be raced for the rest of the season. The new construction is being brought forward from Pirelli’s developments for 2024 because lap times, cornering speeds and downforce levels have risen higher than originally projected. F1’s official tyre supplier is therefore keen to bring forward the introduction of revised constructions designed with those increased loads in mind.

Teams won’t be venturing into the dark with the new tyres, however. All had the opportunity to run the new construction in practice for the Spanish Grand Prix and many individual test days have been conducted with teams to gather data and feedback. But while Pirelli don’t expect the new tyres to have a significant impact on racing or performance, the reality is no one can be certain what if any difference the new tyres could have until this weekend.

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Can Sainz end his podium drought?

Last year’s British Grand Prix will live in Carlos Sainz Jnr’s memory for the rest of his days. The Ferrari driver secured his maiden career pole position on Saturday, and in the race passed team mate Charles Leclerc following a late Safety Car restart to take his first grand prix win in his eighth season in Formula 1. he proved a popular first-time winner with the Silverstone crowd.

Carlos Sainz Jr, Ferrari, Red Bull Ring, 2023
Sainz has yet to score a podium in 2023
But in 2023, Sainz has not enjoyed the most auspicious start to the season. While he has more points than team mate Leclerc in the championship and five top-five finishes in the first nine rounds, Sainz has not stood on the podium so far. Among top four teams in the constructors’ championship – Red Bull, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Ferrari – only one other driver is in the same position: Lance Stroll.

Ferrari appear to have picked up the pace in the most recent rounds in Canada and Austria, with both Sainz and Leclerc running Verstappen close in qualifying and Leclerc finishing second to the championship leader at the Red Bull Ring. So at a circuit that will forever hold happy memories for him, can Sainz make the most of his Ferrari’s performance potential and score his first trophy of the 2023 season?

McLaren making moves

Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2023
Norris took fourth in a revised McLaren in Austria
After a second disappointing start to a season in consecutive years, McLaren may have turned a corner that could see them in the thick of the hunt for the points in the midfield.

Following a concentrated effort to rush out a raft of upgrades in time for last weekend’s round in Austria to take advantage of the points available over a sprint race weekend, McLaren were rewarded by Lando Norris finishing fifth in Sunday’s grand prix – and then gained another place thanks to a post-race penalty for Sainz.

Last weekend, only Norris had the benefit of the team’s upgraded parts, with rookie team mate Oscar Piastri missing out. That will change this weekend, with both drivers having the new-spec McLaren – and even more new parts supposedly coming. But will it result in a double points haul at their home race?

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British teams’ special editions

McLaren 'chrome' livery for 2023 British Grand Prix.
McLaren will go chrome this weekend
It would be a fitting occasion for McLaren to put on a good showing, as they’re sporting a revised livery for the home race in their 60th anniversary season. The MCL60s will bear flashes of chrome harking back to the car raced by Lewis Hamilton to the world championship 15 years ago.

Special liveries have become increasingly en vogue in Formula 1 since Liberty Media loosened the restrictions on teams’ colour schemes. McLaren have embraced the gimmick far more than any of their rivals and are one of two British-based teams which will race in unique liveries to celebrate and commemorate special milestones at their home grand prix.

Williams will also run in a special design this weekend, celebrating their 800th grand prix, though due to the cancellation of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix two months ago they won’t actually reach that milestone until the following round in Hungary. The Grove team is yet to reveal the “striking” livery they have promised. The design is separate to the fan-vote competition they are running to decide their livery for a series of rounds near the end of the season.

F1’s most heated rivalry?

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, and Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
De Vries and Magnussen have clashed twice in two rounds
After two clashes in the last two grands prix, it’s fair to say there are no two drivers on the grid with more heat between them currently than Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries.

The Haas and AlphaTauri drivers have found themselves battling over the same piece of road a few times this season. In Canada, a battle between the pair ended in De Vries diving up the inside of Magnussen in a poorly-judged move which sent both down an escape road and cost them many seconds in race time. Then, on Sunday, the two crossed paths again with De Vries pushing the Haas off the track illegally after Magnussen made a move to the outside of turn six, earning De Vries a five second time penalty.

With De Vries dropping to the very bottom of the championship last weekend, Magnussen reasoned that De Vries’ move was because “he’s, I guess, racing for his future and maybe in a bit of a desperate situation”. Will the pair clash for a third grand prix in a row?

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Lights, camera, action

Besides Formulas 1, 2 and 3 and the Porsche Supercup, there will be an unusual addition to the roster of cars running on the circuit at Silverstone this weekend. As part of production for an upcoming film about Formula 1 staring Brad Pitt, there will be an 11th ‘team’ set up this weekend which will run a specially modified single-seater around the track to gather footage for the movie.

Sebastian Vettel, Williams FW14B, Silverstone, 2022
It’s Button’s turn to drive the FW14B this year
While the production crew will undoubtedly lead to some disruption for the teams, McLaren team principal Zak Brown says the movie will be a good way of further promoting interest in Formula 1.

“It’ll be a massive production and I think it will get a lot of current fans excited but I think a lot of people that don’t follow the sport will see it and will think it’s unbelievable,” Brown said.

“I think the technology that you use will make it a racing movie, unlike what we’ve seen in the past, as far as its realism. For sure it will be a great shot in the arm worldwide for Formula 1 and for motor racing as a whole.”

A great car from F1’s past will be in action at the track as well. Jenson Button will turn laps in a Williams-Renault FW14B, which Nigel Mansell scored a dominant victory in at the circuit in 1992, on his way to that year’s world title.

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Are you going to the British Grand Prix?

If you’re heading to Great Britain for this weekend’s race, we want to hear from 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:

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on “Who will gain most from F1’s new tyres? Six British Grand Prix talking points”

  1. Pirelli tyres and Silverstone have not always combined well in the past. Using the British GP weekend to introduce a new tyre construction that has never been raced before is a bold move, to say the least.

  2. Fresh rubber – I doubt they’ll bring any noticeable difference.
    Can Sainz end his podium drought? – Maybe, maybe not.
    McLaren making moves – A double-points finish is indeed possible based on the last race.
    British teams’ special editions – Great milestones & a decent one-off livery for Mclaren, although not as good as the Gulf one used in the 2021 Monaco GP.
    F1’s most heated rivalry? – Not really.
    Lights, camera, action – I’m looking forward to that footage.

  3. Fresh rubber? Will watch this one very closely. If it suddenly appears the Mercs do very well on them, just like in 2021, it will be the ultimate proof of profound match fixing.

    1. Not really though. Mercedes have gone very well on Silverstone in recent years.

    2. Yes, I’m very very suspicious about this because they seem to always make tyres that end up favouring mercedes, and everyone can see, we mentioned this before, so if it turns out they indeed favour mercedes, don’t say we are using the benefit of hindsight.

  4. Ferrari recently benefitted from doing setup work during tyre testing.

    Let’s see who had new construction tyres on their recovery wish list.

  5. Bridgestone?
    I’m hoping Pitt does a Hans Heyer and gets stuck into the race on Sunday. He has a decent shot at being the leading US driver.

  6. For the last 2 years, & now this year. Tyres are a way too large a factor in F1.

  7. Broccoliface
    6th July 2023, 7:27

    “11th team” – half expecting Domenicali to get the wrong end of the stick and lie down at the exit of the pitlane to prevent them from taking to the track.

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