Formula One will showcase its talent at the home of British motorsport this weekend as the teams make the journey to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday 6th July. The world renowned former airfield is this year celebrating its 60th ...
Formula One will showcase its talent at the home of British motorsport this weekend as the teams make the journey to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday 6th July. The world renowned former airfield is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary having staged its first Grand Prix in 1948 prior to hosting the very first Formula One World Championship event in 1950. Silverstone also provides the venue for the majority of the paddock's home Grand Prix and is always one of the most eagerly anticipated events on Britain's annual sporting calendar.
This year's sell-out race marks the halfway point on the Formula One calendar. With the 2008 season establishing itself to be one of the most fiercely contested in recent years, Silverstone's truly testing track provides the perfect battle ground for what will undoubtedly be a compelling race for the teams and fans alike on Sunday. At a circuit where it's celebrated some significant milestones, including its first Grand Prix victory in 1979, AT&T Williams will be looking to improve upon its recent performances and return to a more competitive form.
Williams won their first Grand Prix at Silverstone back in 1979 so it's always nice when this race comes around and we can compete in front of our home crowd. We have a lot of work to do though at the moment to improve our competitiveness. To help with that, we had a three day test at Silverstone last week. We covered a lot of ground with the FW30, and that should help us out in the next few races. Silverstone is a great track to race on so I'm looking forward to it, and I think we'll do a lot better than we did in France.
I'm really excited about this race, not only because it's the team's home Grand Prix, but also because I count it as my second home race as I've lived in England for quite a long time now. We spent last week testing at Silverstone and managed to cover off a lot of preparation for the race, which was important for us after Magny-Cours. For the first time this year, I'll hopefully bring some friends from Oxford with me to this race, which will be a novelty! That, and being able to drive home and not contend with an airport for once, will make a nice change!
Sam Michael, Technical Director, Williams F1
From the high speed first sector through to the low speed third sector, Silverstone has quite a varied track layout. Such variation often demands compromise which presents the drivers and engineers with a fairly significant challenge when it comes to getting the optimum set-up direction and therefore the quickest lap time at this track.
Aerodynamic efficiency and a solid mechanical balance are key requirements for a competitive performance around Silverstone. With overtaking extremely difficult around the lap due to the speed the drivers carry into the corners, the emphasis on a strong qualifying is perhaps somewhat exaggerated at this race. A particularly hard track on tyres due to the heavy loads accrued at high speeds, Bridgestone will bring the hard and medium compound tyres to this race. The best strategy tends to be either a one or two stop. Last week's test at Silverstone afforded all of the teams a final opportunity to fine tune their set-ups for the race.
Silverstone Circuit, Northamptonshire
A 60 lap race, the British Grand Prix is a punishing 191 mile endurance test. The blend of high and slow speed corners, connected by three long straights, creates an uncompromisingly fast circuit, one that inevitably rewards engine power but one which also demands a delicately balanced set-up to cope with the high speed directional changes. Aerodynamic efficiency and harder compound tyres will therefore be crucial to sustain pace and position through the faster corners, such as Copse, but also through the slower corners, particularly into the Complex at the end of the lap.
Not only are the drivers presented with one of the most technically demanding circuits, they are also forced to contend with the unpredictable weather conditions common to Silverstone's notorious micro-climate. Prevailing winds are often a concern at the old airfield and can affect the car's drivability, so must be carefully considered in the set-up process. Silverstone may only provide a few overtaking opportunities, principally at Vale and Abbey, but the capacity crowd can still expect some thrilling racing action on Sunday afternoon.
Online this week at www.attwilliams.com: The AT&T Williams French GP podcast, the British GP Flyby, Nico Rosberg's French GP Column, Kazuki's GP Blogs, iWitness and an exclusive new feature on WF1TV, "James Toseland Visits Williams F1."