FIA British Grand Prix preview

© FIA, 4 July 2012
© Allianz

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is the ninth round of the 2012 championship. This race is steeped in F1 history, Silverstone having hosted the inaugural F1 championship round at the beginning of the 1950 season. The British Grand Prix is one of only two races ever-present on the F1 calendar. It has also been held at Aintree and Brands Hatch but Silverstone leads the way, staging the GP 45 times.

The circuit has undergone many minor revisions over the past two decades while leaving the circuit’s perimeter configuration intact. That changed in 2010 with the debut of the new ‘Arena’ layout, which introducing a new infield loop between the corners at Abbey and Brooklands. 2010’s race used the old pit and paddock complex, though for 2011 new facilities opened, moving the start-finish straight to the section of track between Club and Abbey corners.

The new layout makes the circuit longer and more technical but Silverstone retains its reputation as one of F1’s power circuits, with over 60 per cent of a lap completed at full throttle, and featuring some of the highest-speed corners in F1.

Fast changes of direction characterise the circuit. According to tyre supplier Pirelli, this is the track which places the greatest lateral load on their tyres. Copse corner is taken at speeds in excess of 290kph, generating lateral loads of 5g. The hard and soft compound tyres have been nominated for this round of the championship but a mixed forecast means intermediate or full wet tyres may also see use during the weekend.

Last year Fernando Alonso triumphed in wet-dry conditions. He comes to Britain leading this year’s championship, having taken his second victory of 2012 last time out in Valencia. That ended a record sequence of seven different drivers winning the first seven races of the season. The other major record the 2012 season might challenge is 1982’s total of 11 winning drivers.

CIRCUIT DATA

© Allianz
Length of lap: 5.891km
Lap record: 1:30.874 (Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2010)
Start line/finish line offset: 0.105km
Total number of race laps: 52
Total race distance: 306.227km
Pitlane speed limits: 60km/h during practice, 100km/h during qualifying and race

CHANGES TO THE CIRCUIT SINCE 2011
Relatively little has changed since 2011. The pit entry has been straightened and the pit lane speed limit begins 50 metres earlier.

FAST FACTS
► The British Grand Prix has been on the calendar since the inaugural F1 championship in 1950. The only other race able to claim that is the Italian Grand Prix. Silverstone played host to that first ever F1 championship event, when it hosted the British Grand Prix on 13 May 1950. Nino Farina won the race driving for Alfa Romeo and went on to win the championship with further victories in Switzerland and Italy.

► In the Formula 1 championship era, three venues have held the British Grand Prix. Aintree hosted the race in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962; Brands Hatch in even years between 1964-1986 and Silverstone on the other 45 occasions.

Jim Clark and Alain Prost are tied on five wins apiece as the most successful drivers in British Grand Prix history. While Prost won all of his races at Silverstone, Clark spread his across all three British Grand Prix venues.

► There have been 63 winning drivers in the 62 British Grands Prix. During the 1957 race at Aintree, Stirling Moss took the chequered flag driving the Vanwall in which Tony Brooks had started the race. Moss had pitted his ailing Vanwall from the lead and taken over teammate Brooks’ drive, re-emerging in ninth place, Moss worked his way through the field and still managed to win by 26 seconds..

► The 1951 British Grand Prix at Silverstone was won by Jose Froilan Gonzalez driving a Ferrari 375. It was Ferrari’s first Formula 1 championship victory. Gonzalez’s car, now owned by Bernie Ecclestone, was driven around the Silverstone circuit by Fernando Alonso before the 2011 race – which Alonso subsequently won in a Ferrari 150° Italia.

► Fernando Alonso’s victory in 2011 made Ferrari the leading constructor in British Grand Prix history with 15 victories, one ahead of McLaren.

► The new Silverstone layout, used in the last two years, was designed with the needs of MotoGP in mind. The infield section and Arena, where the new pit complex is located, bypasses the bridge, which was deemed too close to the track for bike racing. The new parts of the Arena Grand Prix Circuit use sections of track that are part of the shorter ‘National’ and ‘Southern’ layouts.

► The British Grand Prix has the highest number of home-grown winners of any race on the F1 calendar. The race has been won by a British driver 21 times. Alongside Clark’s five wins (1962-1965, 1967), Nigel Mansell has four (1986-7, 1991-2), while on two wins apiece come Stirling Moss (one shared with Tony Brooks) (1955, 1957) , Jackie Stewart (1969, 1971) and David Coulthard (1999, 2000). The other winners are Peter Collins (1958), James Hunt (1977), John Watson (1981), Damon Hill (1994), Johnny Herbert (1995) and Lewis Hamilton (2008).

RACE STEWARD BIOGRAPHIES

© FIA
PAUL GUTJAHR
PRESIDENT OF THE FIA HILL CLIMB COMMISSION, BOARD MEMBER AND PRESIDENT OF AUTO SPORT SUISSE SARL
Paul Gutjahr started racing in the late 1960s with Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Lotus and Porsche, then March in Formula 3. In the early ‘70s he became President of the Automobile Club Berne and organised numerous events. He acted as President of the organising committee of the Swiss GP at Dijon from 1980-82. From 1980-2005 he acted as President of the Commission Sportive Nationale de l’Automobile Club de Suisse and in 2005 he became President and board member of the Auto Sport Suisse motorsports club. Gutjahr is President of the Alliance of European Hill Climb Organisers and has been steward at various high-level international competitions. He was the Formula 3000 Sporting Commissioner and has been a Formula 1 steward since 1995.

© FIA

PAOLO LONGONI
MEMBER OF THE ITALIAN MOTOR SPORT COMMISSION (CSAI); THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF MILAN
Paolo Longoni is a steward with more than 20 years’ experience. Milanese Longoni began his stewards’ training at his home circuit – Monza – in 1990 and was immediately ‘bitten by the bug’ of motorsport. While his early stewarding experience was based largely at Monza, since 2006 Longoni has been a national steward, officiating at rounds of the Porsche Supercup, Ferrari Challenge Championship, FIA Historic Championship, ETCC, WTCC, Formula Two and Le Mans Series events.

© FIA

NIGEL MANSELL OBE
1992 F1 CHAMPION, 1993 CART CHAMPION
Nigel Mansell is the FIA driver steward at the British GP. From 187 Grand Prix starts he took 32 pole positions, 31 victories and 28 other podium finishes. He raced for Team Lotus, Williams, Ferrari and McLaren, winning the FIA F1 world champion in 1992 with Williams. The following season Mansell took a sabbatical from F1, racing in the CART championship. He become the first rookie to win that title and the only man to hold the F1 and CART titles simultaneously. He continues to compete occasionally, most recently in endurance racing. Mansell is a four-times winner of the British Grand Prix, with three of those victories at Silverstone.




 

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