The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is the second home race for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and one that holds great memories for Frank Williams and the Grove based team. It was here in 1979 that WilliamsF1 had its first win with Clay Regazzoni ...
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is the second home race for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and one that holds great memories for Frank Williams and the Grove based team. It was here in 1979 that WilliamsF1 had its first win with Clay Regazzoni driving the FW07. Since then the team has won a further nine British Grands Prix – more than any other team in this period – and the last of these in 1997 was also the team’s 100th Grand Prix victory. In the run up to the race the team spent four days testing in Barcelona with Marc Gené and three in France at Lurcy-Levis doing straight line aerodynamic testing with Formula 3000 driver, Ricardo Sperafico. The team also tested at the Northamptonshire track a month ago and completed a total of 276 laps.
"The circuit is quick and challenging, but unfortunately it is very difficult if not impossible to overtake here. Bridge and Copse are corners where there is very little run-off area so you have to be careful not to go off at either of these places. However, the safety at Stowe has been improved since my brother, Michael, had his accident there in 1999. It is always a great atmosphere at Silverstone and I am looking forward to being there as it is one of our team’s home races."
Juan Pablo Montoya
"It is a track that I know pretty well. Silverstone is a bit of a question mark on the tyres, but it seems everywhere we go the tyres are working really well when it counts. We have new parts since the last time we tested there, so we should be quite good. I have only raced twice on the Grand Prix circuit, but have also raced on the shorter National circuit."
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer)
"Silverstone requires a harder tyre than the last few circuits. The circuit has a good mixture of low, medium and high speed corners. High speed sections mean that tyre degradation is an issue and as such selecting between Michelin's Prime and Option tyres will be a difficult choice. The team tests here regularly and this helps create a level playing field for the drivers and their set-ups. As usual, strategy is vital due to the lack of overtaking opportunities."
Dr Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director)
"We have confirmed what we suspected after Magny Cours that Juan Pablo Montoya retired due to an engine failure. It was the first retirement from a race this season due to an engine problem. We have located the problem and solving this is our highest priority leading up to the Silverstone race. In the week following the French Grand Prix we completed an extensive test programme on two tracks. In Barcelona we successfully tested some modifications in the areas of the engine management system and engine mapping, as well as completing some intensive tyre testing."
The Silverstone Circuit has been changed many times over the years since the first British Grand Prix was held there in 1950. This year’s race will be the 35th held at the Northamptonshire Circuit, with the only other tracks to play host to the British round of the World Championships being Aintree five times and Brands Hatch 12. Although Great Britain only has one Grand Prix, three European Grands Prix have been held there at Brands Hatch in ’83 and ’85 and Donington in ’93.
While there have been some great races at the circuit, the event last year will be remembered for the weather rather than the racing. The circuit lost its traditional July date and instead the race was held in April. Torrential rain leading up to the event left the ground sodden and the car parks were so muddy that all spectators cars were banned for the Saturday. There is much less chance of this happening this year with the circuit having worked hard to rectify the problems.
The circuit is 3.194 miles (5.141 km) long and the 60 lap race will be 191.604 miles (308.356 km) long. The race will start at 13.00 local time (14.00 CET) on Sunday, 15th July. The lap record was set in 1997 by Michael Schumacher in his Ferrari with a time of 1m 24.475s (136.109mph/219.047km/h).
Last year’s race was won by Mika Hakkinen in a McLaren Mercedes while his team-mate, David Coulthard, set the fastest lap in a time of 1m 26.217s (133.385mph/214.663km/h).