Round nine of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship takes the Honda Racing F1 Team just seven miles from its base in Brackley to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. The 5.141km (3.194-mile) circuit is one of the fastest and most famous tracks on the F1 calendar, making it popular with drivers, engineers and spectators.
Silverstone was the scene of the first F1 World Championship Grand Prix in May 1950, although the circuit staged its first non-championship race two years earlier and will celebrate its 60th anniversary this year. Formerly a World War II airfield, the track initially used the airfield’s perimeter road before undergoing various facelifts. The layout that is used today has been in place since June 1994, when the Abbey Chicane was modified following the events of Imola the previous month.
The Honda Racing F1 Team’s Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello know Silverstone well, having contested much of their racing in the junior formulas in the UK. They have regularly finished in the points here and the most emphatic of Rubens’ nine wins took place at the track in 2003, when he overtook Kimi Raikkonen to win the race by five seconds.Ross Brawn, Team Principal:
How do you expect the Honda Racing F1 Team to perform at the British Grand Prix?
“As the first of our two home races on the calendar, the British Grand Prix is very important to the team, particularly with Silverstone being located so close to our operational base in Brackley. We expect to see an improvement to the performance of the RA108 at Silverstone, certainly compared to the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours last weekend. We have a number of new performance parts on the car in the areas of chassis, aerodynamics and engine, which should allow us to be on the pace with our current competitors in the midfield. Our drivers are looking forward to the challenge of the weekend and both rate this track as one of their favourites. Rubens has a great history here and always performs very well at Silverstone, and Jenson is extremely motivated to do well at his home race.”The team tested various performance upgrades last week. Will you be running the new parts next weekend?
“The Silverstone test went very well this week and all of our development parts performed as expected. We will complete our performance and reliability analysis back at the factory over the next few days before making the final decisions on our package for the race weekend. A major advantage of the test was that it enabled us to complete a comprehensive set-up programme and tyre evaluation with the Bridgestone Potenza tyre compounds available for the race, which will allow us to concentrate on pure performance gains during practice.”Jenson Button:
How much are you looking forward to your home race at the British Grand Prix?
“The British Grand Prix is always a very special weekend for me and I’m excited about racing there again in front of the British crowd. Whatever position you are in and regardless of the performance of your car, the fans are always so supportive and the atmosphere from the grandstands over the weekend is fantastic. Silverstone is one of my all-time favourite circuits and I particularly love the section of the track around Becketts. The change of direction is amazing as is the speed that the cars carry through there. It’s one of the best complexes in F1 and a great place to watch the race.”Rubens Barrichello:
You won the British Grand Prix in 2003. What does it take to be quick around Silverstone?
“I’ve spent a great deal of time testing and racing at Silverstone since I was very young so it is almost like a home track for me. I also have some very special memories from here, especially my win from pole position back in 2003. To get the best from a lap of Silverstone, you need to have good aerodynamic performance from your car. This is a high-speed and fast-flowing circuit, one of the few remaining on the calendar, and it’s a highlight for the drivers as you can really let the car go. The entrance to Becketts is the quickest corner on the track, a 290kph bend, leading into a challenging complex. Overtaking is possible, particularly into the slower corners at Vale and Abbey. You can overtake elsewhere and because it is such a high-speed circuit, such moves tend to be spectacular. As one of our home races, there is always a lot of expectation prior to Silverstone. Following the test, I am confident that we can have a good race next weekend.”