For the Ferrari team, racing at Silverstone, the home of British motor sport and home base of most of their opposition is always a bit special, particularly for Technical Director, Ross Brawn, and the other English members of Scuderia Ferrari ...
For the Ferrari team, racing at Silverstone, the home of British motor sport and home base of most of their opposition is always a bit special, particularly for Technical Director, Ross Brawn, and the other English members of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. "Although it is the home of McLaren and Williams and most of the other Formula One teams, we always get a warm welcome from the English fans where we have a solid base of Ferrari supporters," says Ross.
As a circuit, especially with the tighter infield section before the pits, it demands a medium to high downforce aerodynamic set-up for the car. The 'key' corner of the circuit is Becketts. If the car is not handling well there it is difficult to get a quick lap time. "It is a bit like the Esses in Suzuka. It is critical high speed change of direction so that if you lose time there, it costs you more time with a slow entry speed onto the hangar straight and the whole lap," says Ross. Similarly, it also important to get the right compromise for the tighter section before the pit entry, which is another critical part of the circuit.
Ferrari took part in the recent test session at Silverstone and, despite the poor weather for much of the test, it provided some valuable information, especially in working out the mechanical set-up of the chassis which is key to a good balance and quick lap. There are no braking issues at a track like Silverstone, but the circuit is a stressful one for the tyres which are a medium to hard compound for this track for what is usually a two stop race, although one-stop is a possibility, should there be a particular case for it.
"We are pleased with the efforts Bridgestone have been making with tyre development with no tendency for the tyres to be circuit dependent and a stronger overall race performance, even though the Michelin tyres have sometimes proved to be stronger over a single qualifying lap on some circuits like Monaco or Canada."
"Our ratio between qualifying and the race appears to be a lot closer, so we are not so paranoid about taking pole position on a circuit where strategy and overtaking opportunities are possible," points out Ross.
For Silverstone, there will be a new specification engine for the team to try in qualifying, while since the last race the team having been working on two separate testing programs at Monza and Mugello, tyre testing at Monza and both tyre and chassis development at Mugello.
With the team so well ahead in the World Championship standings development on this year's car will be stopped at the end of June and future development will then be concentrated on next year's car. There are still plenty of new things in the pipeline for this year's car, the team hoping to race the latest development engine after Silverstone, while there is also a new front wing coming for the car as well as a revised aerodynamic package for Monza.
Should the team clinch the title before the end of the season, it is planned to take the opportunity to experiment in the remaining races of the year with everything from the car itself to the different people working around it, a rare opportunity to test in the ultimate pressures of actual race conditions.