Tag Archives: Silverstone Arena circuit

New Silverstone Arena circuit opened

The official opening of the new Silverstone Arena circuit

The official opening of the new Silverstone Arena circuit

The new Silverstone Arena circuit has been fully unveiled for the first time.

The Duke of York opened the track formally, and was then driven around in a 2-seater F1 car by Damon Hill. David Coulthard and Mark Webber were the drivers on hand.

The track now differs near the end of the lap, where drivers will now take a fast right at Abbey. After a left sweep (Farm), there will be a sharp heavy-braking corner called Village, followed by a pair of left-handers called The Loop. The straight between Farm and Village is called Ireland (Woo!). The cars will then go onto the National Straight, before re-entering Brooklands corner.

Mark Webber was impressed by the new layout, and also thought it would suit the Red Bull RB6:

"I think the track will suit our car. We’re competitive at all
circuits at the moment, and the new section has high-speed and
low-speed corners. It’s also got some undulation which is hard
to see we’ll definitely notice it in the F1 cars."

David Coulthard was the first person to drive on the track, with the Red Bull running showcar. He is impressed with how the circuit has kept its high-speed nature:

"It’s very fast on the way into Abbey. But we still have all
the hallmarks of the original circuit. The corners are very
high speed and some of the entries are blind because it’s
built on an airfield."

Damon Hill praised the construction crew for working so swiftly, even though the winter snow delayed construction work for several weeks in December and January. He said that “The team have done a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances.” He was also relieved that the British Grand Prix now has a secure future, after getting a 17-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone:

"We’re very happy we’ve beaten down Mr Ecclestone as far as
possible to get as good a deal we can on this ten year contract,
with a potential extension for 17 years. We are now the only
private enterprise running a Grand Prix.

Now we have a new circuit for a new generation of people to
enjoy motor sport the way we think they should."

I’m already delighted, but the best is yet to come. Richard Philips, Silverstone’s managing director, explained why they chose Populous to design the circuit rather than Herman Tilke. He said that “We’ve had good, solid input from riders and drivers – people who are not going to wreck what is already a fantastic circuit.” Well put! Tilke has had his chance with every circuit in the last few years, and none are in the top half of the tracks in the F1 calendar. It’s about time that another company has had a try at designing an F1 circuit, and I do think that Populous (who did the Dubai Autodrome) have done a great job at Silverstone.

This new Arena circuit was actually developed for MotoGP rather than Formula 1, but I’m sure that F1 races here will still be excellent. One thing though: The start/finish line and pits for the F1 races will actually be moved to the straight after Club corner, but not for a few years. I’m not sure why this was considered necessary.

Pictures from the launch:

David Coulthard does a burnout on the new Silverstone Arena Circuit

David Coulthard does a burnout on the new Silverstone Arena Circuit

Village and The Loop corners on the Silverstone Arena Circuit

Village and The Loop corners on the Silverstone Arena Circuit

David Coulthard driving on the Silverstone Arena Circuit

David Coulthard driving on the Silverstone Arena Circuit

Silverstone Arena Circuit layout

Silverstone Arena Circuit layout

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The full Silverstone Arena Circuit

The full Silverstone Arena Circuit

The full Silverstone Arena Circuit

The full Silverstone Arena Circuit

Silverstone Arena circuit nearly completed

The Silverstone Arena circuit’s tarmac has been laid, as well as the other improvements to the circuit, which have nearly been completed.

The Silverstone track, which recently got a new 17-year contract as part of the renovations, is well on course to have all of this done before the British Grand Prix in July. As well as the new tarmac for the Arena section, there are now revised run-off areas on the Brooklands and Woodcote corners.

Also, there are new spectator areas opposite the pits, and raised grandstands at the Becketts complex. Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Richard Phillips said work was progressing according to schedule:

"Work on the circuit and venue is on schedule. The team has been working 
around the clock, through some pretty terrible weather conditions, 
to make sure the circuit is ready on time. The track works at Brooklands 
and Woodcote are now complete, including the new run-off area for the fast 
entry into Pits Straight, while the major new development – the new section 
of circuit from Abbey, up to the Arena Complex and round to the National 
Straight – is also coming along nicely.
There is still a considerable amount of work going on at Silverstone, 
including the new elevated banks and spectator viewing areas, which will 
continue beyond March. Conference and hospitality buildings are also 
being built on the new Stowe."

Having seen these pictures and how well they’re going, I’m getting more skeptical about the Korean Grand Prix photos I reported on yesterday. Yes, there are 3 months between these races, but the track will still have to be homolgamated before F1 cars can race on it. Hopefully we can escape this imminently boring race for another year.

Photos of the development:

Silverstone confirms “Arena” circuit for 2010

Silverstone's layout for 2010

Silverstone's layout for 2010

The “Arena” version of Silverstone circuit has been approved by Formula 1 Managment, meaning the new layout will host the British Grand Prix in 2010.

Silverstone is currently undergoing redovelopment to coincide with the new circuit, and will be completed in the next few months. It is believed that it was the redevelopment of the facilities of Silverstone that convinced FOM to allow the circuit onto the calendar. We all know that Ecclestone has been complaining about Silverstone’s poor facilities for quite a while now, so he must have been eager to take up this opportunity. However, the new paddock and pits will only be completed for the 2011 race.

As I have previously stated, the corners Bridge, Priory, and Abbey, replacing them with two straights separated by a slow corner. There will be 17 corners, instead of the previous 18, and there will be probably 52 laps instead of 60.

Last year’s pole position was set by Sebastian Vettel, a 1.19.509. It has been predicted that this year’s pole lap will be around 1.23.130. This is mainly because of the increasing of the track’s length from 5.14km to 5.9km.

The managing dorector of Silverstone, Richard Phillips, said:

“The new sections of circuit were initially brought in to comply with Moto GP safety regulations, but the ‘Arena Complex’ was always designed with both two and four-wheeled racing in mind. We have been very careful, working closely with drivers and riders, to make sure we are improving and enhancing what Silverstone already has to offer – from a drivers, riders and spectators point of view.”

“Some will miss not seeing modern day F1 cars accelerating through Bridge, but we have to move with the times and continue looking at ways to improve the overall experience. The new layout will bring an extra dimension to Silverstone, a new challenge for the drivers, and will enable fans to get closer to the action. We have a very exciting year ahead of us, with F1, MotoGP and World Superbikes all coming to Silverstone, and I can’t wait to see how the drivers and riders tackle the new circuit.”

The overall cost of the redovelopment of Silverstone is estimated at around £5m.

New pictures of Silverstone redevelopment

Yesterday I talked about the redevelopment that was going on at Silverstone, to coincide with the new Arena circuit that will probably be used from this year onwards. You can view that post here.

New pictures have been released showing the scale of the project. The grandstand on the start-finish straight has been torn down and is being moved back. Brooklands is getting an enlarged run-off area, and the footbridge at the pits is being redone. New kerbing at Copses is also being introduced.

Pictures are available here:

Silverstone close to using “Arena” circuit

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone is getting closer to a decicion that will see them decide on whether they will use the Arena circuit for their F1 race or not.

The managing director Richard Phillips said that, while he is hopeful that the circuit would be used, the final decicion rests with Bernie Ecclestone.

“It’s yet to be decided,” he told AUTOSPORT during a site visit to the Silverstone works. “We need approval from three sides. So far two have said yes and one [Ecclestone] says maybe, so we’ll work on that.”

“Allsport [F1's corporate hospitality company] has said yes. And while the FIA needs to homologate the new track of course, it is happy with the plan in principle.”

As long as the FIA stays happy, which they probably will, there is little to stop the circuit from being approved as an F1-suitable event. However, Ecclestone makes the final decicion, as his Formula One Managment (FOM) company has the authority to decide on the layout of the F1 calendar.

At the moment, the circuit is undergoing construction work. A new infield circuit is being constructed (not related to the Arena circuit), and mojor changes to grandstands and spectator facilities.

The Woodcote to Copse grandstand (to the left of the start-finish straigh) has been torn down, and will be moved further back, so as to allow the start-finish straight to be widened. The new grandstand will still be nearly as close to the track as the last one. As part of this upgrade, 180,000 tonnes of earth have alrady been moved, and 8,000 tonnes of asphalt have already been laid.

The only loss of the Arena circuit will be the the exclusion of the corners Bridge to Abbey (known as the Complex). Since this is a very tight series of corners with no chance of overtaking, I’m not sad to see it go. Not that it was bad, but it was slow and boring, a complete contast to the rest of the circuit.

The road replacing the Complex will consist of a right, instead of a left, before Bridge, then a straight, followed by a right jink, wide hairpin, and another straight to rejoin at the Woodcote corner.

The 2010 British Grand Prix is scheduled for the 11th July.

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