British GP preview

By on

This weekend, Silverstone plays host to the British GP which will be the tenth venue for the 2017 F1 season. The British GP is the oldest continuously staged Formula One World Championship Grand Prix next to the Italian GP.

All British GP have been held in England which counts 71 races up to date. Silverstone is a spectacular location to the history of Formula One as that is the place where the pinnacle of motorsport opened the first chapter of its history book.

On 13 May 1950, Formula One saw its inaugural race in Silverstone, England. However, GPs were already organized before. The first British GP took place in Brooklands in 1926 and the second race followed it in the next year. Brooklands was built just outside the British capital of London and was the first purpose-built motor racing venue in the United Kingdom.

From 1928 until 1947, economy conditions and the World War did not allow the continuation. However, some smaller races were held at Donnington Park in the 1930s.

In 1948 and 1949, two non-championship races were held in Silverstone. It hosted the British GP in the first five years of F1 before it started alternating with Aintree in 1955. The even-numbered years were at Silverstone and the odd numbered at Aintree.

In 1961 and 1962, Aintree organized its last two championship venuew and it was then decommissioned in 1964.

Between 1963 and 1986, Silverstone and Brands Hatch were alternating yearly. Brands Hatch was built in the early 1950s and was then extended in 1960. The track located in Kent brought fresh air as it meant a wildly new track because of its unique nature. It featured and still features many cambered cornerns and lots of elevation changes.

Silverstone, then, has dominated the preceedings and hosted all GPs up to the present time and has a contract which expires in 2026.

Track characteristics

The 5891m long circuit is one of the favourites of the drivers thanks to its flowing nature and high-speed corners. The race distance is 52 laps which gives 306.198km. The layout was modified on a few occasions, 2010 saw the last significant update of the circuit which made it longer by adding more straights to it.

Drivers storm on the quick layout clockwise. There are 18 corners. 8 of those are left-hand turns while 10 are right-hand. The track features seven corners which are taken at over 250kph. Only the fourth corner is completed at under 100kph.

The fast corners with the four long straights ('Hangar', start-finish, the one between turn four and five and the former start-finish straight) puts great emphasis on the performance of the power units.

Drivers change gears 48 times per lap and have to travel 460m long at the pit lane speed limit.

There are six braking zones, but only two of them are hard. It means that engineers have to conduct intensive work around the calibration of the hybrid system to enable it to charge up the batteries.

Pirelli will equip the teams with the trio of supersoft, soft and medium compounds after it faced harsh criticism against the hard compound which proved to be useless earlier this year. Two- stop-strategies are usually the standard around the circuit, but the weather can throw the well-thought-out strategy out of the window.