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Classic Silverstone Brings Mid-Summer Formula 1 Battle To British Grand Prix

Drafting the Circuits

Formula 1 Report

Preview British Grand Prix

By Steve Aibel

@steveaibel

The Austrian Grand Prix drew battle lines between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Both have shown strength this season with Hamilton winning 3 of the first 4 races and Rosberg winning 3 of the last 4. The Mercedes drivers are separated by only 10 points as the championship fight moves to the legendary and classic British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Silverstone is a classic Formula 1 racetrack

Silverstone is a classic Formula 1 racetrack

But before we land in England, the teams, except for Manor, tested for two days at the Red Bull Ring in Austria following the Grand Prix of Austria. The vast majority of teams used this mid-season test to confirm the effectiveness of new parts and designs that hopefully will assist them in the Formula 1 Constructors Championship.

Williams and Force India made the most noise at the test with some novel parts being seen for the first time on this iteration of an F1 car. On day 1, Susie Wolff from Williams, tested a small, anterior winglet, set in front of the rear wheels. This piece was intended to alter airflow and increase downforce. While this would not appear to be within the current regulations, the intent was to acquire data for further development. This could represent a step forward for aero development. So far, most of the time and effort has been spent on engine development and reliability. That the teams have started to show aero development efforts on track could be the beginning of a new phase of technological emphasis.

Winglet Testing on The Williams

Winglet Testing on The Williams

Force India is set to debut their Spec B Formula 1 car this week at Silverstone. This has been eagerly awaited. Bits and parts of the Spec B bodywork were tested in Austria and we are all expecting to see this car for the remainder of the season. The nose tested in Austria had a unique vented appearance. This “nostril” design would seem to assist with airflow. It is unknown whether this design is a test piece or whether it is intended as a legal component. There are questions as to the legality of this new-vented nose. Force India also introduced a new wing, turning vanes and sidespods so for better or worse, we should expect to see different results for Force India at Silverstone.

New Spec B Force India may feature duel nose intakes

New Spec B Force India may feature duel nose intakes

Perhaps the most interesting story, especially for F1 fans in the United States, was the report on Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins football team. Ross may be pursuing a large investment in Formula 1. A joint effort between Ross and a group from Qatar has targeted a substantial capital investment in Formula 1. Ross’ RSE Ventures and Qatar Sports Investment have been reported to be looking at a 35.5% investment in CVC holding company, which would be valued at between 5 and 8 billion dollars. I am sure we will hear more about this at Silverstone!

And moving on to Silverstone, Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing said it best when referring to this week’s British Grand Prix.

Ricciardo stated, “I can’t hide it! Silverstone’s awesome. I love high-speed circuits with high-speed corners – and so the run from Copse through Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel and then around Stowe… maybe the five coolest corners on the calendar and to have them coming at you one after the other. Yeah, I love it.”

This classic track is one of the oldest on the Formula 1 circuit, hosting its first British Grand Prix in 1948. Silverstone was previously an airfield. When it was first turned into a racetrack, hay bales and ropes protected crops and pigs inside the confines of the track.

1948 British Grand Prix

1948 British Grand Prix

This event marks another in the European summer string of fast, power dominated tracks, and we should expect to see Mercedes again clearly at the sharp end of the field. Silverstone may possess the best set of corners found on a racing circuit. Maggots, Becketts and Chapel are a series of lefts and rights that are usually taken flat out at speeds between 180 and 125 miles per hour. As Qui Gon Jinn would say about podracing on Malastare…”very fast, very dangerous!”

This section of track showcases a Formula 1 car in all its glory.

Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone

Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone

Bringing the series back to its roots in England, the British Grand Prix will spotlight the battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton won his home race at Silverstone last year when Rosberg had a gearbox failure and retired. Rosberg, however, took victory the year before in a race that was marred by Pirelli tire failures, which almost curtailed the race before the final laps were run.

Pirelli Blowout at Silverstone in 2013

Pirelli Blowout at Silverstone in 2013

Last summer’s back and forth between the two Mercedes men created many questions as to who had the upper hand before Hamilton went on his incredible run of race wins that brought him his second Driver’s Championship. Expect more of the same this year, as Silverstone will show exactly where the Mercedes drivers are in their chase of the Formula 1 Championship prize.

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Drivers’ Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton 169
  2. Nico Rosberg 159
  3. Sebastian Vettel 120
  4. Kimi Raikkonen 72
  5. Valtteri Bottas 67
  6. Felipe Massa 62
  7. Daniel Ricciardo 36
  8. Daniil Kvyat 19
  9. Nico Hulkenberg 18
  10. Romain Grosjean 17
  11. Felipe Nasr 16
  12. Sergio Perez 13
  13. Pastor Maldonado 12
  14. Max Verstappen 10
  15. Carlos Sainz Jr. 9
  16. Marcus Ericsson 5
  17. Jenson Button 4

 

Constructors’ Championship

  1. Mercedes 328
  2. Ferrari 192
  3. Williams 129
  4. Red Bull 55
  5. Force India 31
  6. Lotus 29
  7. Sauber 21
  8. Toro Rosso 19
  9. McLaren 4
  10. Manor/Marussia 0

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