The British Grand Prix is the home race for many of today's F1 teams and Silverstone is widely acknowledged as the home of British motorsport. A mere 40 miles from the OrangeArrows team's Oxfordshire base, it is probably the busiest race of the...
The British Grand Prix is the home race for many of today's F1 teams and Silverstone is widely acknowledged as the home of British motorsport. A mere 40 miles from the OrangeArrows team's Oxfordshire base, it is probably the busiest race of the season for the team, but its close proximity is a welcome relief.
Situated on an old airfield, Silverstone becomes the world's busiest airport on race day when thousands of helicopters descend on the circuit. The grandstands are always packed with loyal supporters and, while the weather cannot be guaranteed, the fans never go home disappointed. The British Grand Prix is also attended by many of the teams' factory staff who savour the opportunity to see their team's cars in action.
Silverstone is almost a second base for the OrangeArrows team as much of its test programme is completed at the British track. With well over 450 laps completed in testing here so far this year, both the drivers and the team come well prepared and ready for the challenge. It is a medium downforce track that combines fast corners with quick straights that requires a set-up to maximise speed on the straights but also allow the fast route through the turns. Despite the enormous amounts of data gathered during testing, the teams will still aim to make the most of their time on track for fine-tuning the car's balance to ensure an optimum performance.
"Silverstone is a circuit with great history and tradition. Technically, it is very demanding and also quite physical as the fast corners can put quite heavy strains on the drivers. It is definitely one of the more challenging tracks on the calendar and it's great fun to drive - I like it a lot. The owners have brought in a lot of good ideas to improve safety that fortunately do not really disturb the challenging character of the track. As it is the home race for the team, everyone has that extra bit of determination to perform well and hopefully we'll be in for a good weekend."
"Silverstone is a good track and I enjoy racing here. The fast corners make it exciting to drive and the straights are long enough that you can get some good speed into the turns. I have done a lot of testing here with the team, so it is probably one of the tracks I know best and I have some fond memories of previous races here too. The British fans are always very enthusiastic and it's important to me that I get a good finish here for the team."
Graham Taylor, OrangeArrows Chief Race Engineer
"It's our home Grand Prix so everyone is really looking forward to it. We have run relatively well at Silverstone in the past and a good proportion of our testing is carried out here. We have a lot of data and a good deal of experience of this track so I think we come here as well prepared as we possibly can be. The track suits our car to a certain degree as it is a circuit that demands plenty of downforce and we benefit from our car's package on tracks with these characteristics. We also tested at Barcelona last week which was very useful and hope to put in a good showing for the home crowd, especially our staff at Leafield and Bedford who have worked incredibly hard this year!"
The OrangeArrows team completed a four-day test in Barcelona last week. After an intensive programme on the A23 with both drivers in action, the team was pleased to round up the week's work satisfied.
The Circuit de Catalunya simulated some of the conditions found at Silverstone and work primarily focused on preparations for the British Grand Prix this weekend. Enrique Bernoldi was behind the wheel for the first two days before teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen took over testing duties on Thursday and Friday.
While suspension set-up work and aerodynamic developments were on the schedule, the team also carried out a number of tyre tests for Bridgestone and continued its development work on the Cosworth engine. Software checks and work on the brakes were also carried out in advance of the British race.
A good day of running rounded up the test with Heinz ending the final day third fastest.
Graham Taylor: "We completed a very comprehensive test at Barcelona. We managed to get through pretty much all of our programme and made some good progress. Over the four days, we worked with Cosworth on engine development and we also tried some new suspensions systems on the car. We managed to get a lot of useful information on tyres too as we ran with a couple of different compounds, which is all valuable for Silverstone. We had a few minor problems running when Enrique was driving earlier in the test, but once those were sorted, Heinz was able to get in some good mileage. All in all, a lot of hard work which I think we can be pleased with. "