Tag Archives: Silverstone

New development plans for Silverstone

Silverstone appears set for another redevelopment

Silverstone appears set for another redevelopment

After the construction of a new pit and paddock facility last year, the owners of the Silverstone circuit have moved forward with plans for further development of the area.

2011 was the first year that F1 cars raced using the new complex, called “The Wing”, as well as a relocated start/finish straight and new grandstand.

Today, news has emerged that the owners wish to add a business park, technology park, education campus, three hotels, a new karting track as well as an outdoor stage to the current track.

Spectator facilities are also being planned, which are known to include a museam of motorsport.

This development is being touted as “the most important initiative that Silverstone has taken in its 60-year history” by managing director Richard Philips:

"Approval of this planning application will help maintain Silverstone’s position as 
a leading global centre for sport, leisure, education and technology and support its 
vision of becoming a world-leading motor sport destination."

Webber leads British FP2 session

Mark Webber led the way for the second practice session of the British Grand Prix, at the revised Silverstone circuit. Mark was fastest, ahead of Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa. However, McLaren seemed to make a step back in this session, after introducing new upgrades to the car.

Several top drivers made mistakes this session, such as Vettel, Massa and Hamilton. Nico Rosberg was 5th, ahead of team-mate Michael Schumacher and Vitaly Petrov. The McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were 8th and 13th respectively.

There were problems this session for Lotus. Jarno Trulli took back over his car from Fairuz Fauzy, but his car broke down after only 3 laps. Heikki Kovalainen stopped out on track with a steering issue near the end of the session.

Since Trulli only managed 3 laps, and therefore didn’t set a fast lap, Sakon Yamamoto was again the slowest driver this session, as he was 7 seconds off the pace, and 1.3 seconds slower than team-mate Karun Chandhok. For the second session in a row, Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest of the new teams.

Times from FP2:

Vettel fastest in new Silverstone in FP1

Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Friday Practice 1 at the revised Silverstone circuit. He finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica. This session also saw the appearances of test drivers for Lotus, HRT and Force India, as Fairuz Fauzy, Sakon Yamamoto and Paul di Resta took over from their team-mates.

There were many difficulties this session, most notably at the Abbey corner. The bumps there were causing many drivers, including Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, to run wide. The first lap of the new track was set by Jenson Button, a 1.37.994, but this time was cut by more than 5 seconds as the session concluded.

Mark Webber was 4th, followed by impressive finishes by Adrian Sutil and Nico Rosberg. Nico Hulkenberg was 7th, while Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished off the top 10.

As they seem to do in Friday Practice sessions, the Ferraris were very poor, with Fernando Alonso 13th and Felipe Massa 17th. Paul di Resta was 14th, but Fairuz Fauzy and Sakon Yamamoto were 23rd and 24th respectively.

Full times from FP1:

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


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.

Spy shot of new Lotus

The new Lotus F1 car

The new Lotus F1 car

A “spy shot” has been released by Autosport of the new Lotus F1 car.

Rather than the last “spy shots” we featured on the blog, this picture is actually properly done.

However, I’m slightly worried that the car isn’t good enough, at least aerodynamically. The front and rear wing are just very simple and block-like in shape. Look at the turning vanes on the side if you need any more convincing.

The livery is in tune with the one that Lotus had used ithe 1950’s and 1960’s, with the traditional green and yellow colours. It is unknown, however, if this is the livery that the team are to use for the season. We will find out on theie launch day, the 12th February.

This picture was taken at the car’s shakedown test in Silverstone yesterday. It was being driven by reserve driver Fairuz Fauzy. The car had been started up last Saturday, and Tony Fernandes stated on his Twitter feed:

“Shakedown started. Quite a few tears.”

First picture of Williams FW32

Autosport has revealed the first picture of the new Williams FW32. For copyright resaons, I can’t reproduce the photo on this site, but you can view the photo here.

Nico Hulkenberg gave the car a shakedown today, before the F1 tests begin in Valencia on 1st February.

Sam Michael, the Williams technical director, said of the FW32:

“The FW32 is a clean-sheet design from front to back. It’s pretty much brand new from an aerodynamic point of view.”

“The fact that we had a consistent car across all of the tracks in 2009, and wiped out a lot of the vices that we had in the previous car, gives us confidence.”

Rubbish, as far as I can see. The nosecone looks to be higher, and the bargeboards have been hightened. Apart from a revised engine intake vent, it looks exactly the same to me.

Also, this is not the livery that Williams will be using. I’m not sure about the colour scheme, but there will be more sponsor logos on it when the Valencia tests begin.

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:

Schumacher targeting both titles in 2010

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher in a GP2 car

Michael Schumacher has said that he and the Mercedes GP team are planning to win both world championships this year.

On his personal website, he wrote:

“The constellation we have here is pretty unique – with Ross and his world championship winning team, with the know-how of Mercedes, with the best engine at the moment and we want to use that. We have a clear aim: we want to win the championships. That’s what we will fight for from the beginning. That is my personal standard too.”

Also, he believes that, thanks to his 3-year break, he is stronger than ever before.

“After my retirement at the end of 2006 I was very happy,” he explained. “I felt relieved and free. It was good for me to be quiet for those three years. It really feels as if my batteries have been fully recharged. My energy is back completely. I have really noticed how the prickle has returned and how motivated I am, because I am looking forward to this competition so much.”

Clearly, he is well motivated ahead of this season, but can he do it? The Mercedes car, as we know, has taken all technical information off Brawn, who had started on their 2010 challenger as early as Silverstone (July) 2009. I suppose this all boils down to whether he has the machinery for the job or not.