THE DRIVERS ON: THE CIRCUIT

14 Fernando Alonso

“The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the year for every driver. The fans are very knowledgeable and very fair, and the circuit is a fantastic high-speed challenge. It’s one of the few places where the drivers feel like they’ve been let off the leash because you can really feel the aerodynamic grip at Silverstone, which makes it very pleasurable to drive.

“This is also the home race of McLaren. A lot of the factory-based staff come to watch us at the track, which is special and it would be fantastic to get a good result for all of them.”

 

 



 

22 Jenson Button

“I’ve been going to Silverstone for almost as long as I can remember. I raced there in karts, in Formula Ford, in Formula 3 and, of course, in F1 for the last 16 years. It’s a wonderful track and the British fans are something else. They’ve given me unflinching support during my career, through the good times and the bad, and for that I’m hugely grateful.

“The high-speed corners are great fun, and, whatever your car’s level of competitiveness, you can’t help but smile as you drive through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts because it’s so fast through there. Silverstone is one of my highlights of the year.”
 

CIRCUIT STATS
 

2015 winner Lewis Hamilton, 52 laps, 1:31:27.729s
2015 pole position Lewis Hamilton, 1m32.248s
2015 fastest lap Lewis Hamilton, 1m37.093s (lap 29)
Name Silverstone
First race 1950
Circuit length  5.891km/3.660 miles 
Distance to Turn One 420m/0.261 miles 
Longest straight  Hangar Straight, 780m on the approach to Turn 15
Top speed 320km/h/199mph, on the approach to Turn 15
Pitlane length 489m/0.304 miles, the longest of the season. Estimated time loss 23s
Full throttle 66 per cent 
DRS zones Two, on the approaches to Turns Six and 15
Key corner Turn Seven, a double-apex right-hander. A clean exit is vital because a long period of full throttle follows, during which the drivers don’t hit the brakes for 40s
Fastest corner  290km/h (180mph), Turn 10
Slowest corner 90km/h (56mph), Turn Four
Major changes for 2016 None
Fuel consumption 2.5kg per lap, which is high
ERS demands Medium. It’s a long lap and there are several significant braking points to help ERS recovery 
Brake wear Medium. While this is a relatively easy circuit on brakes, it’s hard to maximise their potential. Getting the carbon discs up to temperature at the end of the Hangar Straight, after 40s of flat-out running, is something of a black art
Gear changes 48 per lap/2,496 per race

 

CIRCUIT FACTS 

History lesson: 
Silverstone is one of the oldest and most iconic circuits on the F1 calendar. A former WWII airfield, the track hosted the first world championship grand prix on 13 May 1950 and it’s been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987. The track was the scene of F1’s first 160mph (257km/h) lap, in 1985, and it remains one of the fastest and most challenging circuits in the world.

What makes the track unique: 
The number of fast corners, many of which are linked. To watch an F1 car through Copse-Maggotts-Becketts is a sight to behold.

Grip levels: 
Good. The asphalt is old and the cornering speeds are mostly high, a combination that provides good levels of grip.

Run-off: 
Plentiful. The one thing this former airfield doesn’t lack is space. Having said that, Michael Schumacher broke a leg when he crashed at the end of the Hangar Straight in 1999.

Watch out for…: 
Turn Nine, Copse. This is one of the fastest corners in F1: in qualifying it’s taken flat-out in top gear, whereas in the race it gets faster as the fuel load burns off.
 

EVENT STATS
 

Start time 13:00 local / 13:00 BST
Race distance 52 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 percent distance/39 laps)
Safety Car likelihood Low, due to the large run-off areas. Statistically there’s a 55 percent chance of a Safety Car, but it has been deployed for the last two years after crashes on the opening lap of the race
When to press record Qualifying. Every lap of Silverstone is spectacular, but none more than in qualifying, when the cars are light and the power units are tuned to deliver maximum horsepower. Through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts the drivers pull up to 5g lateral, which is quite literally breathtaking
Don’t put the kettle on Lap 10 onwards, which is when the drivers are expected to make their first pitstops. This is the first time that Pirelli has taken its soft tyre to Silverstone, so the race could be a more interesting strategic battle than in years past
Weather conditions now   17 degrees and cloudy
Race forecast 18 degrees
Tyre choices Soft/Medium/Hard, a combination that was last seen at the Spanish Grand

 

EVENT FACTS

First British Grand Prix: 
1950.

Slogan:
The Home of British Motorsport.

Britain's F1 heritage: 
Silverstone’s association with Formula 1 extends back as far as the World Championship itself, to 1950. It has been the focal point of the British motorsport industry, which employs 50,000 people, and eight of the 11 teams competing in F1 are based within a 100-mile radius of the circuit.

Smallest winning margin:  
0.765s, in 2013. This was a race in which there were many retirements and several changes for the lead. Lewis Hamilton led the race until a tyre failure forced him to pit; Sebastian Vettel inherited the lead, until his race was cut short by a gearbox problem, which handed the lead to Nico Rosberg. The German didn’t have it all his own way and he finished less than 1.0s ahead of Mark Webber.

Sporting legacy:
Britain is synonymous with Formula 1. Silverstone staged the inaugural World Championship race in 1950, and Britain has held a grand prix every year since then. There have been 144 British grand prix drivers and 10 British world champions, which is more than any other country, and eight of the 11 F1 teams are based in the UK. If that wasn’t enough, the commercial arm of the sport, Formula One Management, is based in London.

Did you know? 
There have been three different homes to the British Grand Prix: Aintree, Brands Hatch and Silverstone.

Don’t forget: 
McLaren has won the British Grand Prix 14 times, most recently in 2008. 

Fan zone:
Gina, aged 41, from Towcester: “Given that this is your home race, do you do anything different from an operational point of view?” 
McLaren’s answer: “The only difference is that no-one gets on a plane! The rhythm of the race weekend is the same as ever: we arrive at the track at the same time and everyone stays in the same hotel to make logistics easier. You can’t even say the journey home is quicker because the traffic around London can be very slow on a Sunday evening!”
 

THE DRIVERS ON: THE EVENT

#14 Fernando Alonso

“My victories at Silverstone were very special. Both were exciting races and I will never forget the reception I received from the crowd when I came onto the podium. It was fantastic and it’s that generosity towards all of the drivers, and not only the British ones, that gives the race such a special atmosphere.

“From a performance point of view, it’s important that we get through the whole weekend cleanly, efficiently and without problems. We’ve had a couple of tricky races, but, through it all, there have been some genuine glimpses of progress. 

“For me, I want to make progress through Friday and Saturday, then be able to deliver a performance on Sunday that justifies all our efforts. We can do it, and to be able to turn that corner in front of thousands of McLaren-Honda fans would be a fantastic reward for the whole team.”
 

#22 Jenson Button

“Finishing on the podium at the British Grand Prix is top of my ‘to do’ list in F1. I’ve achieved pretty much everything else that I set out to do in F1, but I’ve never stood on the podium at Silverstone. I really want to do that and it would feel like a victory if I were to achieve it.

"Of course, the result in Austria last week really motivates everybody, and it raises everyone’s expectations, too. It would be lovely to be able to claim that a podium this year might finally be possible, but, being realistic, that won’t be possible this time.

“But I head to Silverstone feeling hugely encouraged by our progress, and just what we can achieve as a team when the variable are thrown into the air and all the teams are left to somewhat improvise: we can do great things.

"It goes without saying that I’ll be giving it everything at Silverstone this weekend.”
 

HEAR FROM THE MANAGEMENT

Eric Boullier
McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“Silverstone is a very special race, both for the fans and for the people who work in Formula 1. The circuit has something for everyone: it has history, it has fast corners and it has a unique atmosphere. It’s a privilege to go racing there.

“And, of course, the British Grand Prix is the first of McLaren-Honda’s two ‘home’ races, along with Suzuka in Japan. We have many great memories of racing at Silverstone, a place where we’ve scored many notable victories over the years.

“This year we do battle with a much improved MP4-31. Jenson’s result in Austria showed that, when everything comes together, we can perform operationally at a high standard; but, equally, the isses that affected Fernando on both Saturday and Sunday show that we still need to raise our game on every front. 

“It’s important to remember that we were able to punch above our weight in Austria, but, with so many McLaren-Honda fans in the crowd this weekend, we’ll be doing our best to pull another strong result out of the bag.”
 

Yusuke Hasegawa
Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

"The British Grand Prix needs no introduction as it is one of the oldest and most iconic races on the F1 calendar. It is also one of the most challenging races, with a reputation as one of F1's few remaining power circuits. The track is long and flat, and power and fuel hungry, which will no doubt create a fierce midfield battle for us, but I think we have learned from both Baku and Austria that we are definitely progressing forward as a team, and it is up to us to extract the most out of the car throughout the weekend.

"Silverstone will also mark the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren-Honda team this season, so we are looking forward to what will be a busy but special weekend. The British fans are some of the most passionate in the world and they have always shown Honda great support throughout our years in Formula One.

"It's the fans and their passion that make the British Grand Prix so special, so we hope that we can bring both cars home within the points in front of the home crowd."