Silverstone Circuit, commonly referred to as simply Silverstone, is an motor racing circuit based in the village of Silverstone in England. It has hosted the British Grand Prix 56 times since 1950, and is the current host of the race, as well as the host of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. It has hosted races since 1948, when the World War II airfield was converted into a race circuit.
The circuit is located in both Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, straddling the border, near the villages of Silverstone and Whittlebury, which are both in Northamptonshire. The circuit entry is in Buckinghamshire. The town of Brackley, in Northamptonshire, where Mercedes are based, is just seven miles away.
History and Circuit LayoutsEdit
The circuit is based on the former World War II base known as RAF Silverstone, which was opened in 1943. The base was used exclusively for bomber crew and mechanical training, as opposed to actual missions, so Silverstone was one of the first bases to be shut down after V-E Day.
Silverstone might have just faded into history, except for a local racer named Maurice Geoghegan, who was looking for a spot to test out refurbishments to his Frazer Nash. Geoghegan snuck out to the track, which was still technically owned by the Air Ministry, and found the place to be perfect. Except for one small detail: the caretaker of the base owned a large flock of sheep, who were given run of the place. Woolen obstacles notwithstanding, Geoghegan mentioned Silverstone to some of his friends, and a plot was hatched to run an ilicit race there. So in September of 1947, 11 Frazer-Nashes and one lone Bugatti set off around a roughly two mile course. History records few details about that first event, other than Geoghegan himself encountering one of the poor sheep, which was fatal to ovine and Frazer-Nash alike, but with the driver only shaken up. After some spirited discussion with the caretaker, the race was called, but will be forever known as the "Mutton Grand Prix".
Despite the ending of the "Mutton" race, the airfield had come to the attention of the RAC, which negotiated a lease on the airfield. After spending the summer preparing the track, a circuit was laid out using most of the perimeter roads, but with two jogs onto the runways. The cars took a sharp right at Copse, onto the longest runway, now named Seagrave Straight. At the second runway crossing, the cars made a very sharp left (called Seagrave Corner) onto the second runway, then they rejoined the perimeter roads between Maggotts and Becketts. The course then followed the perimeter to Stowe, where the cars made another sharp right onto the runway (Seaman Straight) followed by another very sharp left (Seaman Corner) before rejoining the perimeter at Club.
This configuration measured 5.896 km/3.664 miles, coincidentally almost the same length as the current circuit. The circuit was unique in that the two infield jaunts had the cars driving directly at each other before turning away, so a canvas wall was rigged up, to hide the sight of a possible head-on collision.
After the success of the two events in 1948, a longer lease was negotiated between the RAC and the Air Ministry, along with the right to make permanent improvements to the property. In 1949, this included resurfacing the track, a paved pits and earthen banks for spectators. The circuit was also shortened to just the perimeter roads. It now had eight corners, and measured 4.649 km/2.889 miles, and included a tight right-left-right chicane at Copse. For 1950, the new World Driver's Championship made it's debut at Silverstone. The track had been lengthened slightly, using oil drums to outline the corners, as the drivers had been shortcutting the ends of the runways. Even with the removal of the Copse chicane, the track length increased to 4.7105 km/2.927 miles.
The last major change for more than 20 years was in place for the 1952 season. For safety reasons, the starting line and pits were moved to the straight between Woodcote and Copse. This is the 'classic' configuration of Silverstone. Even though there would be updates and improvements to the pits, paddock, facilities and safety measures, the track remained the same until events and the speed of the cars forced changes.
At the end of the first lap of the 1973 British Grand Prix, Jody Scheckter was running fourth in his McLaren. Coming out of Woodcote, he got his two left wheels on the grass, then overcorrected. The car shot across the track, bouncing off of the pit wall and in front of most of the field. Of the 28 starters, 19 were involved in the accident, with nine unable to make the restart. Fortunately, the only serious injury was a broken leg suffered by Andrea de Adamich. When the cars returned in 1975, Woodcote now sported a slower right-left-right chicane. This one change would serve the track for another 12 years. The lap distance was now 4.718 km/2.932 miles.
In practice for the 1985 race, Keke Rosberg took his Williams-Honda around the track in 1:05.591, an average speed of 258.95 kph/160.92 mph. The cars were going too fast, and the track would have to be slowed down. When the circus returned in 1987, they found Woodcote restored to its former glory. But 100 meters or so beforehand, there was a new complex known as Luffield, consisting of a slow 90° left, immediately followed by a slow 120° right. The new section only added about two seconds a lap, but the Silverstone management said that more was to come. The new track now measured 4.778 km/2.969 miles.
They said more was to come, and they weren't kidding. Before the 1991 race, the largest number of changes to the track ever were introduced. Almost half of the track was moved or altered.
First, Copse Corner, at the end of the pit straight, was tightened to slow the cars and create more run-off room.
Likewise, Becketts needed more run-off room, but in this case they moved the track in several meters, turning the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel section into five turns of varying arcs and radii. The quick left kink known as Maggotts was now followed immediately by a tighter right hand kink, where the club circuit deviated from the GP circuit. A very short straight led to a quick left hand sweeper, which was followed immediately by the new Becketts corner, a tighter and more than 90 degrees right. And then the track hit the unchanged Chapel curve, creating a fast and technical section that was instantly a favorite of drivers and fans alike.
After Stowe Corner at the end of Hanger Straight, the track continued to the right, followed by a sharp left bend. The led onto a short straight that roughly paralled the old straight. This ended with a very tight left before returning to the track just before Club Corner. The new section was called Vale, and the Club Corner was now a long sweeper with a double apex.
After Abbey Curve, and just past the vehicle bridge into the track, the circuit now made a new right turn into the infield. This new corner was called Bridge, and the new straight extended to the Club Straight, where it made a sharp left (called Priory) to join that straight. Before reaching Woodcote, the track made another sharp left at a turn called Brooklands, then after another short straight made a sharp right to rejoin the old circuit at where the Luffield complex was added in 1987. Patrons of the grandstands at that point could now see the cars negotiate six corners, plus much of the pit row.
This new configuration was substantially longer at 5.226 km/3.247 miles, and the character of the track had been changed forever.
British Grand PrixEdit
The first British Grand Prix to be part of the World Drivers Championship in 1950 was held at Silverstone and the Grand Prix was held there every year until 1954. It then began to alternate first with Aintree Racecourse, then with Brands Hatch until 1987, when it became the permanent home of the British Grand Prix.
It was announced in 2008 that Silverstone would host its last British Grand Prix in 2009 after a long running dispute between the circuit's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, and the FIA. Donington Park was to become the new home of the British Grand Prix from 2010. However, due to problems with financing the renovation of Donington Park, the British Grand Prix was awarded back to Silverstone until at least 2026. In 2017, the organisers activated a break clause, stating that unless a new contract was made, the circuit would host the British Grand Prix for the last time in 2019. Ultimately, a contract was signed several days before the 2019 British Grand Prix, allowing the race to be held at Silverstone until 2024.
Grand Prix Winners at SilverstoneEdit
Per Grand PrixEdit
|7||Lewis Hamilton|| 2008, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,|
|5||Alain Prost||1983, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993|
|3||Jim Clark||1963, 1965, 1967|
|Nigel Mansell||1987, 1991, 1992|
|Michael Schumacher||1998, 2002, 2004|
|2||José Froilán González||1951, 1954|
|Alberto Ascari||1952, 1953|
|Jackie Stewart||1969, 1971|
|Jacques Villeneuve||1996, 1997|
|David Coulthard||1999, 2000|
|Fernando Alonso||2006, 2011|
|Sebastian Vettel||2009, 2018|
|Mark Webber||2010, 2012|
|14||Ferrari|| 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955,|
1958, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2007, 2011, 2018
|12||McLaren|| 1973, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1985,|
1988, 1989, 1999, 2000, 2001,
|8||Williams|| 1979, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993,|
1994, 1996, 1997
|7||Mercedes|| 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,|
|3||Lotus||1963, 1965, 1967|
|Red Bull||2009, 2010, 2012|
By Engine SuppliersEdit
|14||Ferrari|| 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955,|
1958, 1990, 1998, 2002, 2003,
2004, 2007, 2011, 2018
|12||Renault|| 1983, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,|
1995, 1996, 1997, 2006, 2009,
|Mercedes|| 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2008,|
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,
|8||Ford Cosworth|| 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1975,|
1977, 1979, 1981
|3||Climax||1960, 1963, 1965|
|Honda||1987, 1988, 1989|
Wins by CountryEdit
|1||United States of America|
- ↑ "British Grand Prix future uncertain beyond 2019 as Silverstone activates break clause". www.bbc.co.uk. 11 July 2017. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/40566434. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- ↑ "British Grand Prix: New Silverstone deal announced until 2024". www.bbc.co.uk. 10 July 2019. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/formula1/48933290. Retrieved 10 July 2019.
|V T E||British Grand Prix|
|Circuits||Brooklands (1926 - 1927), Silverstone (1948 - Present), Aintree (1955 - 1962), Brands Hatch (1963 - 1986)|
|Races||1950 • 1951 • 1952 • 1953 • 1954 • 1955 • 1956 • 1957 • 1958 • 1959 • 1960 • 1961 • 1962 • 1963 • 1964 • 1965 • 1966 • 1967 • 1968 • 1969 • 1970 • 1971 • 1972 • 1973 • 1974 • 1975 • 1976 • 1977 • 1978 • 1979 • 1980 • 1981 • 1982 • 1983 • 1984 • 1985 • 1986 • 1987 • 1988 • 1989 • 1990 • 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000 • 2001 • 2002 • 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2014 • 2015 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018 • 2019|
|Non-Championship Races||1926 • 1927 • 1948 • 1949|
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