Doubling down in Northamptonshire
Few places on the Formula One calendar embody the spirit of the sport as well as Silverstone does. The British track, host to the first ever world championship race in 1950, is almost synonym with motorsport: as Formula One celebrated its 1000th race last year, we reminisced at length about that inaugural race in 1950 – won, of course, by Nino Farina in an Alfetta 158.
As the dominant force in the opening seasons of the world championship, the Alfa Romeo brand also wrote some historical pages in the sport – and therefore goes hand in hand with the British venue. And while the circuit, with its gleaming Wing towering on the start-finish straight, is a world apart from the bumpy airfield that saw that inaugural race take place, the feeling of being in a special place remains.
That’s a good thing, then, since team’s will be staying there for two weeks as Silverstone hosts the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, two events in a fortnight on the fast Northamptonshire circuit. Silverstone is called home by seven of the ten Formula One teams, which are based in a small radius, known as Motorsport Valley, around the circuit. As the Alfa Romeo Racing team make’s the trip from Switzerland, however, they won’t feel like outliers. They have conquered this place before – it feels like home already.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN and CEO Sauber Motorsport AG:
“The next three races will be another crucial juncture of the season. We come from the first real break, after the opening triple header: it’s been the first chance for the teams to regroup, assess the situation and start addressing the rest of the year, so it will be important to show we have made use of the time since Hungary to make progress. We have a much more defined idea of where the strengths, and weaknesses, of our package are and we keep working together to make another step forward after what we have shown in the first few races. The midfield battle is still close and I have full confidence that our team has what it takes, both in terms of personnel and machinery, to score regularly.”
Kimi Räikkönen (car number 7):
“The first few races haven’t been ideal in terms of results but the important thing is that we are moving in the right direction. We have identified the areas where we need to improve and hopefully we will get to Silverstone with the solutions needed to give us some extra competitivity. We have seen we can fight against most midfield cars on Sunday and we are confident we can come home with points from either of these two races.”
Antonio Giovinazzi (car number 99):
“I am looking forward to this British double race. We have had some difficult races so far but the team spirit is high and we know we can get back strongly if we all work together. On Sunday we are very competitive, we have shown that in each of the races so far, and if we put together a good qualifying we can be fighting for the top ten from lap one, so this has to be our objective going forward. We have seen in Austria that racing twice in the same venue gives some unique opportunities and we will be aiming to make the most of these two races.”