Round nine of the 2014 F1 season takes place at the Silverstone circuit in Britain.
The 3.660 mile track hosted the first round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. It is a challenging and high-speed layout, despite the addition of an infield loop for 2010.
The Silverstone Wing was introduced in 2011, moving the start/finish line half way around the circuit to just before the new Abbey corner. This year will be the 50th Grand Prix to be held at the venue, which is a favourite amongst fans, drivers and teams.
It is a home race for nine of the 11 outfits on the current grid, with the majority of their headquarters being located close to the circuit. Jim Clark and Alain Prost are the most successful drivers at the British Grand Prix with five victories each, while has taken the most victories for a constructor – 15.
A lap of circuit starts on the pit straight, with the Wing to the right. Abbey is a fast right-hander, but it will be taken at slower speeds this year due to the decreased downforce levels. Turn two is a flat-out left, but it will be trickier this season, with the pit exit on the outside.
A short straight leads on to the third corner (Village). It will be taken in third gear this year and is a slow right-hander that leads swiftly on to another low-speed hairpin. The left-hander of turn four (The Loop) is followed by the fifth corner (Aintree), which used to be flat but won’t be in 2014 due to the rule changes introduced for this season.
Whilst corner speeds will be lower this season due to the decreased downforce, top speeds on the straights will be higher thanks to the V6 Turbo power-units. Turn six (Brooklands) follows the Wellington Straight and is a tricky left-hander. It is followed by Luffield, which drivers expect to be particularly tricky in 2014 due to the increased levels of torque.
In the wet, turn eight (Woodcote) will be difficult but it will still be relatively straight-forward in dry conditions. It is a fast right-hand kink that leads on to the old pit straight. Turn nine (Copse) will be taken at slower speeds in sixth gear this season.
The iconic Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex will be extremely tricky. Turn 10 – a quick left-hand corner – will require a lift on the throttle in 2014 and will now be taken as a corner rather than flat-out, with an even bigger lift for turn 12, which is a slightly slower right-hander.
The Becketts complex is made up of a faster left-hander and a slower right, which will both be taken at slower speeds this year and require more pressure on the brake pedal. Chapel – a quick right – will lead the cars on to the Hanger Straight, with top speeds being around 6-9mph higher in comparison to last season.
Some teams may struggle under braking for turn 15 (Stowe) due to the new brake-by-wire system. The exit will also be harder to perfect due to the added torque, which could make the car oversteer. Turn 16 (Vale) requires a car that changes direction well. The tight left-hander (with cars heading straight on to take to the pits) is followed by the double-apex right-hander of turns 17 and 18 (Club), which leads on to the main straight and concludes the lap.
There will be two DRS zones this year. The first will be on the straight between Aintree and Brooklands, while the second will be positioned on the Hanger Straight. Pirelli will take the two hardest tyre compounds to Silverstone.
Last year’s race was a dramatic one and is best remembered for several tyre failures that shook-up the order. Lewis Hamilton had looked set to win but a puncture put him out of contention. Nico Rosberg took the win after Sebastian Vettel retired.
The two Mercedes drivers will certainly be challenging at the front once again. However, expect Red Bull Racing to be closer, as the RB10 is very quick through the fast corners. Lotus could be more competitive, as the E22 suits the quicker turns, while McLaren could struggle due to their lack of downforce.
It should be a fascinating race weekend, as the track always produces a good race and the fans are some of the most passionate in the world, making the atmosphere one of the best on the schedule.