F1 celebrates Silverstone’s 50th British Grand Prix

This weekend Formula One returns to its spiritual home at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. The home race for a number of the teams, as well as Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Max Chilton, the British Grand Prix has been on the F1 calendar since the first Formula One World Championship in 1950. All the British Grand Prix have not been held at Silverstone, however, so 2014 marks its 50th race. There will be a number of celebrations taking place over the weekend, including parades of classic cars featuring Sir Jackie Stewart in his Matra MS80, Rubens Barrichello in the 1979 Williams FW07b, and Adrian Newey in Ronnie Peterson’s March 711, amongst others.

Circuit: Silverstone
Number of Laps: 52
Circuit Length:5.891km
Number of Corners: 18
Lap Record: 1:33.401 Mark Webber (2013)
Previous Australian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 5
Most Successful Team: Ferrari (15 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Hard

Mercedes have dominated the year so far and, following a blip at the Canadian Grand Prix where Daniel Ricciardo won, it was business as usual at the return of the Austrian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg led home yet another Mercedes 1-2, while Williams put in a strong showing to finish in third and fourth after Felipe Massa qualified on pole position at the head of a Williams front row lock-out.

Last year’s British Grand Prix was a bit of a disaster in regards to tyres, as there were a number of tyre explosions including for Hamilton. Pirelli will be hoping that there will be no repeat of that this weekend as they bring their hard and medium compound. There are a number of medium and high-speed corners at Silverstone which put a lot of energy through the tyres, requiring them to be durable. It is a circuit which is not demanding on brakes meaning that recovering energy through MGU-K will prove to be difficult. Another potential issue teams and drivers will face is that Silverstone is a track which requires good downforce, something that 2014 cars are low on.

In terms of circuit modifications, artificial grass has been removed from the exits of Turns five, eight and nine while the wall to the driver’s left before Turn six has been extended.

It proves to be a special weekend at Silverstone, where Hamilton will no doubt be hoping to start catching his team-mate. Rosberg is currently 29 points ahead having finished every race this year in the points while Hamilton has suffered two DNFs. Elsewhere, Williams’ Felipe Massa will be celebrating his 200th GP start and if it goes anything like his 100th, we’ll be seeing a Brazilian driver on the top step of the podium. Red Bull suffered major disappointment at their home race last time out as Sebastian Vettel once again suffered at the hands of his Renault engine while Ricciardo came home in eighth. For the other Brits this weekend it will be a bit of a different story than Hamilton. “The fast corners of the Grand Prix circuit aren’t necessarily going to suit our package,” Button said ahead of the weekend. “But, we’re bringing improvements to the car all the time, and we’re now seeing some really positive correlation between the tunnel and the track, which is encouraging for our ongoing development programme”. It is also a special weekend for Button for another reason, as hundreds of fans will turn Silverstone pink in memory of his late father, John Button. John was a popular figure in the F1 paddock, who always wore a pink shirt and was present at every race to support his son. He sadly passed away before the start of the season and it touched a lot of fans hearts and so the #pinkforpapa campagin was started. It will also see money donated to the Henry Surtees Foundation through the selling of the Pink for Papa Shirt. The third Brit on the grid is Max Chilton, who is still looking to emulate his team-mate’s points finish in Monaco.

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