British Grand Prix – A warm welcome in Silverstone

Beach weather predicted for the most northerly race on the calendar

The British event brings to an end a triptych of races that has made Formula 1 history: from Paul Ricard to Silverstone via Spielberg. It’s been a logistical marathon which, for some team members, has involved being on the road permanently, while others returned to base before setting off again, at the very latest, two and a half days later. This time the race cars did not return home to be overhauled and the work was done on site.

If you want to amaze your friends who are into racing, then you could always ask them which is the most northerly GP venue on the calendar. The majority reply “Canada,” but actually the most northern is the one in Northamptonshire, which is currently experiencing a major heatwave. It seems that hot weather (up to 26 degrees) and an absence of rain is likely to be the order of the day this weekend.

The track, a former wartime airfield, was the first to host a world championship Grand Prix and, over time, it has undergone many changes. The superfast track of the early years gradually made way for a more sinuous outline, until the final layout was created in 2010, with new facilities completed the following year. Many purists turned up their noses, but while the Arena section, aimed at improving visibility for fans and overtaking for drivers, might leave the nostalgic disappointed, there is much to appreciate when it comes to some other changes. The old grass paddock might have had a garden party atmosphere, enhanced with the smell of barbecues, but the boggy car parks were a nightmare. Today however, other tracks could learn from the way things are done here.

The track is still very technical, with fast corners and a track surface that gives the tyres a hard time. For the third and final time this season, the tread depth will be reduced. But the best part of the setting, as at all the classic tracks, comes from the spectators themselves…

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