British GP BMW Preview

Silverstone represents not only the home of British motorsport but also the home race for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. The days of straw bales, garden party atmospheres and the winner stopping on his cool-down lap for a beer with the marshals are long...

Silverstone represents not only the home of British motorsport but also the home race for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. The days of straw bales, garden party atmospheres and the winner stopping on his cool-down lap for a beer with the marshals are long gone, but Silverstone is still home to the British Grand Prix. A huge amount of work has been done to the track since 1985, when Keke Rosberg set the world's first 160mph F1 lap with a 1000+bhp of power in his FW10. Essentially, the vibe of Silverstone has remained unchanged. It is still a venue for purists. After the season's first three races, the BMW Williams F1 Team is placed joint-fourth in the Constructor Championship standings, with Ralf Schumacher also sharing fourth place with Mika Hakkinen in the Drivers Championship. The team's recent test programme at Silverstone was marred by bad weather conditions - a factor that could come into play given Silverstone's new April fixture date. Ralf Schumacher

"As always, I am looking forward to the British Grand Prix. Every year, Silverstone has a great atmosphere because of the enthusiasm of British motorsport fans, particularly as there are so many of them. I'm not quite sure what will happen this year because of the April date. Afterall, it is not the best month in England because of the weather. But let's hope for the best. For the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, the weather doesn't matter too much because the FW22 feels good in both wet and dry conditions. For me, Silverstone is one of the most exciting and demanding racetracks in the F1 calendar.

"The combination of high, medium and low speed corners makes it challenging to find a good set up. Copse and Becketts are high speed combinations where you require a well balanced aerodynamic set up. Each of these corners requires a smooth approach and maximum revs in an effort to take the speed onto the following straights. On the other hand, Silverstone also boasts several slow speed corners like Prioy, Brooklands and Luffield, all which require good mechanical grip. "My previous experiences at Silverstone have usually ended up with points. In 1998's wet race, I started from the back of the grid and finished the race in sixth place. Last year, I started eight on the grid and finished on the podium behind Coulthard and Irvine." Jenson Button

"We spent four days testing at Silverstone last week and I must say that I'm really looking forward to this race. Apart from one race in F3, I have never raced on the GP circuit before. Over the past month, however, the BMW WiliamsF1 Team has tested at Silverstone and I have developed a reasonably good understanding of the circuit and what it has to offer. Silverstone has everything from high, medium and slow speed corners to the flat out Hanger Straight. The FW22 feels good and well balanced in both wet and dry conditions and I'm not worried about the weather this weekend. Either way, I think the British Grand Prix will be a great experience for both fans and drivers."

Frank Williams

"The British Grand Prix will see the first occasion under which the cars run to the FIA's new electronic regulations. There could well be some reliability problems for some of the teams due to the rush to incorporate the new regulations. It will certainly be an interesting shake-out on Sunday afternoon, wet or dry."

Gerhard Berger (BMW Motorsport Director)

"For the first time this season we are going to race on a track where the teams have tested before the Grand Prix. Everybody, therefore, should be able to take the best out of their cars, which makes the game very interesting. Given that he has raced in F3 and tested in F1 at Silverstone, Jenson will also be better prepared. He has now clocked-up some useful mileage in the FW22 and his lap times could well be closer to Ralf's. We did some modification work on the BMW V10 after Imola and we expect to be better prepared on the reliability side. Our target hasn't changed - we want to see the chequered flag at least with one car." * The 60 lap British Grand Prix gets underway at 13:00hrs local time. A total distance of 191.566 miles (308.289 km) will be covered on the 3.194 mile (5.141 km) circuit.

* The 1m24.475s lap record is held by Michael Schumacher and was set in 1997 (Ferrari).

* The 1999 British Grand Prix was won by David Coulthard in a McLaren-Mercedes. Eddie Irvine's Ferrari finished second and Ralf Schumacher's WilliamsF1 FW21 finished third. The race was restarted after Michael Schumacher's leg-breaking accident at Stowe corner.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Gerhard Berger , Keke Rosberg , Frank Williams
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams