The British Grand Prix, Round eight of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship, and Brawn GP's home race, takes place this weekend at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, just eight miles from the team's factory in Brackley and 20...
The British Grand Prix, Round eight of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship, and Brawn GP's home race, takes place this weekend at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, just eight miles from the team's factory in Brackley and 20 miles from Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth.
Silverstone is one of the fastest race tracks on the current Formula One calendar and a firm favourite with many of the drivers. Formerly a World War II airfield, the circuit staged its first non-championship race in 1948 before hosting the first Formula One World Championship Grand Prix in May 1950.
Renowned for its fast, sweeping bends in the first half of the lap through Copse, Becketts and Stowe, followed by the slower corners of Club, Abbey and the final Priory and Luffield complex, the 5.141km track requires high downforce and an emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency.
Brawn GP's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are both big fans of Silverstone, having raced at the circuit throughout their careers since the junior formulae. Both drivers have enjoyed points finishes at the track with Rubens taking a memorable win in 2003 and an assured third place in the rain-affected 2008 race.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. What are your thoughts going into Brawn GP's home race at Silverstone this weekend?
"Looking back to the last race in Turkey, I was extremely pleased with the performance of the team at Istanbul Park and the way in which we were able to maintain our competitive position. We worked very hard ahead of the race to identify any potential areas of weaknesses versus our competitors and the improvements that we saw over the weekend proved that the team is able to respond quickly and take the necessary steps forward. We have been quietly making progress over the past few weeks and have a series of upgrades to come, including new rear and front wings for the race this weekend.
"The British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be a particularly special weekend for our team this year. Our base in Brackley is just eight miles from the circuit and we are very proud, as a British team, to be going into our home race leading the Constructors' and Drivers' Championships. I have been fortunate enough to have been on the winning team at Silverstone in the past and it is an extremely special feeling that I would love to share with this team. We are holding a family day at our factory on Sunday for everyone who is not working at the track and it would be fantastic to head back there in the evening with a great result to celebrate what should be a very memorable weekend. Whilst it is very sad that this may be the last race at Silverstone as it is such a wonderful race track, the most important thing is that we retain the British Grand Prix for the future."
Q. What does the British Grand Prix and racing at Silverstone mean to you?
"The British Grand Prix is always an amazing weekend and I can't wait to race at Silverstone in front of our home fans on Sunday. To be leading the Championship going into my home Grand Prix is something that I've never experienced before and it puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. I've raced at Silverstone from some fairly tough positions in the past but the fans have always been so supportive and I'd love to give them a performance that they can really enjoy this weekend. We took a good step forward with the balance of our car in Turkey but know that our closest competitors are going to be good in the high-speed corners so it will be an interesting weekend. If we come away with a good result, I'll be so happy on Sunday!
"The layout of Silverstone makes it one of the classic racing circuits and along with Suzuka and Spa, it has to be one of the best tracks out there. Every driver who races here loves the place as it's so fast and you can really push the car to its limits. It's a great circuit for the fans as you can see just how amazing the cars are from the speed, the change of the direction and the braking. I particularly love the section of the track around Becketts which is one of the best complexes in Formula One and a great place to watch the race. I have so many memories of Silverstone going right back to Mansell's win in 1987 and my first Formula One race there in 2000 when David Coulthard won and I finished fifth. It's strange to think that this might be our last race at Silverstone and I can't imagine not having a British Grand Prix so we'll be going all out to put on a fantastic show."
Q. You've raced at Silverstone for most of your motorsport career so it must be a favourite track of yours?
"Silverstone is one of my all-time favourite circuits and I absolutely love racing there. The track is fantastic as it is one of the few remaining on the calendar that are high-speed, fast-flowing and really allow you to let the car go through the quick corners. It is also a very safe track and that's important from a driver's perspective. Becketts is probably the most impressive corner with a 290kph bend which leads into a challenging complex. Overtaking can be pretty spectacular if you get it right in one of the high-speed sections although the best opportunities are probably the slower corners at Vale and Abbey.
"I have some amazing memories from Silverstone over the years and it feels really sad that this might be the last time that we race there. I spent so much time testing and racing at the circuit when I was younger that it almost feels like a home track and the crowds are always supportive, even if you aren't British! My win here in 2003 was really special and it's fantastic to be returning this year with a car that has the potential to compete for the victory. There's a lot of expectation going into the weekend as our team's home Grand Prix but we will remain calm and just focus on doing the best job that we possibly can."
-credit: brawn gp