BRI­TISH GP PRE­VIEW

THE FAST-FLOW­ING CLAS­SIC

F1 Racing - - CONTENTS - Pat Sy­monds,

Wil­liams’ chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer The Bri­tish Grand Prix is the home race for many of the F1 teams and, fur­ther­more, it is based very close to the head­quar­ters of most of them. Al­though this may per­haps cre­ate the im­pres­sion that this is an event where the prepa­ra­tion and ex­e­cu­tion can be a lit­tle more re­laxed, usu­ally the op­po­site it is true. Be­ing so close to base means that teams are of­ten in more of a rush to get new de­vel­op­ments on the car, be­cause they can with­out hav­ing to ship or fly the com­po­nents abroad.

The Sil­ver­stone cir­cuit, on the site of a for­mer World War II bomber sta­tion, has seen many changes over the years. It was last ren­o­vated in 2010, but its in­her­ent na­ture re­mains un­changed: it is still a high-speed cir­cuit with rapid di­rec­tion changes, and that makes it the favourite of many driv­ers.

The po­si­tion­ing of the cir­cuit on the large, flat ex­panse of a for­mer air­fleld means pre­vail­ing winds can be strong here. And when change­able and po­ten­tially strong winds com­bine with the high-speed cor­ners that dom­i­nate this track, it cre­ates a thorny prob­lem for driv­ers and en­gi­neers alike. Both need to un­der­stand the wind con­di­tions since it will af­fect driv­ers’ brak­ing points in to and out of cor­ners, depend­ing on whether there is a head­wind or tail­wind and be­cause cross­winds, es­pe­cially in high-speed cor­ners, can re­ally un­set­tle the car.

The key to a quick lap around here is a car that re­mains sta­ble dur­ing di­rec­tion changes, and one that is aero­dy­nam­i­cally sta­ble, be­cause most of the track is spent at high speed where aero­dy­namic loads dom­i­nate. There are not too many large brak­ing events, which means that over­tak­ing can be dif­fi­cult and brake wear is not re­ally ever an is­sue here.

The cir­cuit is quite bumpy and cars’ ride heights must be set up with this con­straint in mind. But with many driv­ers hav­ing driven here in the lower for­mu­lae, most will know Sil­ver­stone like the backs of their hands, which helps.

The bumpi­ness aside, there are a few other pe­cu­liar­i­ties at Sil­ver­stone, one be­ing that due to the dif­fer­ent resur­fac­ing projects car­ried out over the years, the track is not ex­actly ho­moge­nous. It’s of­ten noted that cer­tain parts take longer to dry out in the wet (sec­tor three, for ex­am­ple).

Round 9 / 4-6 July / Sil­ver­stone

In one of 2013’s most dra­matic races, prob­lems with the Pirelli tyres caused a num­ber of lengthy Safety Car pe­ri­ods. A punc­ture robbed Lewis Hamil­ton of his lead and, ul­ti­mately, the vic­tory. He fought back to fin­ish fourth, while team-mate Nico Ros­berg took the win.

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