Red Bull Motorsports
Not only is it one of the most renowned circuits on the Formula 1 season calendar, but also one of the most appreciated by the drivers. On July 3rd, racers will go head to head for the 56th edition of the British Grand Prix. Get up to speed on everything you need to know about this fabled track.
Quick facts about the track
- Construction: 1943
- First race in F1: 1950
- Location: Silverstone (England)
- Length: 5.891 km
- Number of turns: 18
- Most wins: Lewis Hamilton (7)
- Lap record: Lewis Hamilton (1 min 24 s 303)
A circuit steeped in history…
Royal Air Force Silverstone was a military bomber station during the Second World War and was in operation from 1943 to 1946. After the war, the airbase was soon turned into a motor racing circuit organized by the Royal Automobile Club in 1948. In October of that same year, the first official race was held at Silverstone and the event drew nearly 100,000 spectators. Widely considered the best motorsports circuit in all of Britain, the track lies within the outline of the once airfield’s three runways in classic World War Two triangle format.
On May 13, 1950, Silverstone Circuit was the track chosen for the inaugural race of the new FIA Formula 1 World Championship -- and a legend was born.
And often altered….
During the 78 years of Silverstone’s existence, the track has changed considerably. The first major modification occurred in 1975 and involved the Woodcote bend, which was reworked into a chicane. Why? Well in 1973, Jody Schectkter lost control of his Maclaren at the Woodcote bend, which lead to one of the biggest and nastiest pile-ups in Formula 1 history.
Since then, the track underwent a few minor changes until 1991 when its look was profoundly remodeled. Yes, that’s right race fans, this was the year that the famous sequence of blindingly fast corners known as Maggots, Becketts, and Chapel Curve were introduced. This sequence of corners is often taken between speeds of 235 and 310 km/h, and is today considered one of the most selective passages of the championship.
In 2010, certain bends in the circuit were modified again, and in 2011, the pit line was moved to the south of the grounds following the construction of the new pit building. Ten years later, there have been no additional changes to the track, much to the delight of the drivers.
"It's one of the best circuits to experience F1 performance,” explained Red Bull Racing driver Sergio Perez. "I love the second sector, with the fast corners. It's very pleasant and it's probably the best sequence. You feel that the car is at its limit, it's a fantastic feeling."
"It's a circuit as fun as it is fast. But the best is really the second sector", confirmed Lance Stroll. "That's where the car comes to life because there's a lot of grip. At that moment, you are smiling in your helmet.”
"Nothing is similar to Silverstone," added Lewis Hamilton. "Every year is the highlight of my season, the support I get is insane.” Hamilton also compared a flat-out lap at Silverstone similar to flying a fighter jet, enough said.
Last year’s British Grand Prix was shrouded with controversy. During the first lap of the race, Lewis Hamilton collided with Max Verstappen, sending Verstappen into the tire wall at 290 km/h. Although Hamilton was issued a penalty, the hometown hero was still able to pull out the win over Charles Leclerc.
Much of the post-race debate surrounded the penalty that was issued to Hamilton. Some believe that the penalty was not severe enough, while others saw the collision as a “racing incident” and therefore not an intentional move by Hamilton. Thankfully Verstappen was uninjured and is hungry for a rematch in 2022.
The 2022 British Grand Prix comes in the middle of the F1 season and drivers are still battling for points. Along with the Verstappen-Hamilton dogfight, and the unpredictable British weather, this year’s race at Silverstone Circuit is lining up to be one of the most enthralling races of the year.
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