Silverstone Circuit: Complete Data
|Official Name||Silverstone Circuit|
|Location||Silverstone, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom|
|Track Length||5.891 km (3.66 miles)|
|Race Distance||52 laps (306.198 km)|
|Grand Prix Held||57 (intermittently 1948-1985, 1987-present)|
|Race Lap Record||1:27.097 (Max Verstappen, Red Bull RB16, 2020)|
|Most Poles||Lewis Hamilton (7)|
|Most Wins||Lewis Hamilton (8)|
Silverstone Circuit: History
The history of the Silverstone Circuit dates back to the Second World War. Between 1943 and 1946 the military bomber station called Royal Air Force Silverstone was in operation, whose abandoned runways began to be used for racing from 1947 onwards.
In 1948, the airbase was turned into a racing circuit organized by the Royal Automobile Club, which held the first Grand Prix at Silverstone in October of that year. Nearly 100,000 spectators attended that Grand Prix, which was a total success and put Silverstone on the map of the racing world, with a layout that outlined the three former runways.
In 1950, the circuit was selected to host the inaugural race of the newly created FIA Formula 1 World Championship, which was intended to consolidate itself as the reference category in motor racing at a global level. Thus, on May 13 of that year, Silverstone hosted the first Formula 1 British Grand Prix, won by Giuseppe Farina’s Alfa Romeo.
Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix until 1954, when it began to alternate first with the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit until 1962 and then with Brands Hatch until 1986. In the 1973 British GP, one of the biggest accidents in F1 history occurred on the first lap, involving most of the grid and ending the life of Andrea de Adamich.
This accident caused major changes to the circuit, and by 1975 the Woodcote corner was transformed into a chicane, and new pit garages were built. From 1987, Silverstone became the only circuit to host the British GP, and in 1991 major changes were made to the track, which introduced the iconic Maggots and Becketts corner sequences and the Chapel Curve, among others.
Over the next decades, small changes took place at the circuit, with renewed infrastructures and changes to the layout. The last major changes occurred in 2011 when the pit lane was moved to the south of the venue following the construction of the new pit building.
Silverstone has become a true symbol of speed and history, being one of the most historic circuits of the entire calendar, as well as one of the most popular among drivers and fans. It is one of the events that attracts the most fans and one of the most prestigious, hosting numerous competitions.
Silverstone Circuit: Layout Guide
The Silverstone layout has changed significantly over the decades, with new sections and corners being added that have made it a circuit that combines long straights with high-speed corners. With 5.891 km and 18 corners, Silverstone is one of the most frenetic circuits on the calendar, loved by all drivers.
After the start straight is Abbey, a fast right-hand corner that links with Farm to the left. This complex of corners is followed by hard braking to take Village, a right-hander followed by Loop to the left. After Loop is Aintree, a tight left-hander that leads to the long Wellington Straight.
After passing under the bridge is Brooklands, a long-left turn followed by Luffield, a hairpin to the right. This complex of curves, along with Woodcote, is a great overtaking point and where it is crucial to have a good line to enter the National Pit Straight.
This straight is followed by Copse, a super-fast right-hander in which you must take the apex to then face the complex of curves formed by Maggotts, Becketts, and Chappel, which is the most iconic section of the track. These are fast esses that slow down at the end and lead to the Hangar Straight.
The Hangar Straight is followed by Stowe, a long right-hand corner where it is difficult to find the right line, and leads to the last complex of corners of the circuit, composed of Vale, a hard braking left turn, and Club, a wide hairpin to the right, key to facing the exit straight.
Silverstone Circuit: Onboard Lap
With a time of 1:27.097 obtained in 2020, Max Verstappen holds the race lap record at Silverstone. However, that same season, Lewis Hamilton, with a time of 1:24.303 not only achieved the pole position but also set the absolute lap record at the British track.
Hamilton took the pole position more than 3 tenths ahead of his teammate Valtteri Bottas, who in turn took 7 tenths ahead of third-placed Max Verstappen. The Mercedes W11 was one of the most dominant cars in history which broke a number of records, being the fastest car in the history of Formula 1.
This video of Hamilton around Silverstone is just perfect.
Silverstone Circuit: Weather
In recent years, the British Grand Prix has always been held in early July. Average temperatures at Silverstone during this month range between 22ºC and 13ºC, with a 50% chance of rain and a 38% chance of cloudy days.
During the last few years of the Grand Prix, rain has not been present, so we have had races with good weather. Both the weather and the temperature make it a very enjoyable and comfortable Grand Prix for the fans who attend the circuit.
Silverstone Circuit: Curious Facts
- Silverstone has hosted the British GP on 57 occasions, while Brands Hatch has hosted it 12 times and Aintree 5 times.
- Silverstone is the only current circuit, along with Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps, and Monza, that was part of the first Formula 1 championship in 1950.
- In this circuit, the pole position does not assure the win, as in the last 28 British Grand Prix only 8 have been won by the poleman.
- Alain Prost has won four times at Silverstone with three different teams: in 1983 with Renault, in 1985 with McLaren, in 1989 with McLaren again, in 1990 with Ferrari, and in 1993 with Williams. He is the driver who has won with the most different teams.
- Lewis Hamilton completed an incredible performance in his first victory at Silverstone in 2008, taking 68 seconds off the second-placed driver in the rain.
- King George VI attended the 1950 British Grand Prix, the only monarch to have visited the British Grand Prix.
- Ferrari achieved its first win in Formula 1 at the 1951 British Grand Prix.
- 12 British drivers have won the British Grand Prix. Some of them are Nigel Mansell, Jackie Stewart, Lewis Hamilton, and David Coulthard.
- During the 1977 British Grand Prix, Jean-Pierre Jabouille was the first driver to use a turbo engine in an F1 race, marking a new era in the sport.
- The average speed for Formula 1 cars at the British Grand Prix range in the 233 kph (145 mph) range.
- Here is a list of the reasons for the names of some corners at Silverstone:
- Abbey and Luffield: Luffield Abbey, the remains of which were discovered 200 meters from Stowe Corner.
- Village: Commemorates Silverstone Village.
- The Loop: Simply refers to the corner shape.
- Wellington Straight: Vickers Wellington bombers were based at RAF Silverstone.
- Brooklands: The world’s first purpose-built circuit at Weybridge, Surrey.
- Woodcote: In honor of the country club at Woodcote Park in Surrey.
- Copse: A small wood that used to sit adjacent to the corner.
- Maggotts: A local landmark, Maggotts Moor field, which is next to the circuit.
- Becketts and Chapel Curve: The ruins of the Chapel of Thomas Becket lie close to the circuit.
- Hangar Straight: Two aircraft hangars originally lined the circuit here.
- Stowe Corner: Stowe School is less than two miles south of the circuit.
- Club Corner: In honor of the RAC Club, Pall Mall.
Remarkable F1 Races At Silverstone
1987 British GP
The 1987 British GP saw one of the most intense duels of the decade at Silverstone, starring one of the greatest British heroes: Nigel Mansell. Mansell started from second position, behind his teammate Nelson Piquet, in what looked like a win for the Brazilian.
However, on Sunday, Ayrton Senna overtook both Williams and took the lead after the start, although he was soon overtaken by Piquet and Mansell again. The two Williams, far superior to the rest of the grid, soon consolidated their lead, with Piquet first and Mansell second, following closely behind the Brazilian.
Throughout the race, there was a great duel between the two, with Mansell always close to Piquet, whom he overtook in the last laps of the race to take a fantastic victory at home.
1995 British GP
The 1995 British GP had a frenetic race in which everything happened and had an unexpected winner. Damon Hill started from the pole position, followed by Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard, while the Kaiser’s teammate, Johnny Herbert, started from the fifth position.
The first part of the race was dominated by Hill and Schumacher, the two title contenders. Schumacher dropped to third after the start, but thanks to a better strategy he was able to move into first place after his pit stop, while Hill started a chase on him.
After a few laps with Hill getting closer and closer to Schumacher, the Briton was able to catch him and tried to overtake, but the two collided and were out of the race.
This promoted Herbert and Coulthard to the fight for the lead, who were battling for third place. Coulthard overtook Herbert, but shortly after dropped to third due to a stop-and-go penalty due to speeding in the pit lane, so Herbert took a great home win against all odds. Jean Alesi and Coulthard completed the podium.
2008 British GP
The 2008 British GP was marked by rain, with a flooded and foggy track. Lewis Hamilton, the young British promise of that time, started in fourth position, behind Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, Mark Webber’s Red Bull, and his teammate Heikki Kovalainen.
On Sunday, Hamilton completed an epic performance that will be remembered as one of the best drives in history. The Briton made a great start, overtaking Raikkonen and Webber to take second position, almost overtaking Kovalainen as well. Five laps later, the Briton overtook his teammate, consolidating the lead.
While numerous drivers suffered spins and accidents due to the difficult track conditions, Hamilton drove like nobody else, being far superior to the entire grid, and finally took the victory, taking no less than 68 seconds over second-placed Nick Heidfeld, and beating the entire grid except for the podium finishers. With this incredible victory, Hamilton moved closer to his first title.
Silverstone is one of the most historic and iconic circuits of Formula 1, holding the first race of the World Championship in 1950. After a few decades alternating with Aintree and Brands Hatch, from 1987 it began to host the British GP alone.
Silverstone is one of the fastest circuits, with some iconic corners that make it one of the best tracks on the calendar, loved by drivers and fans alike. Lewis Hamilton, with 8 victories, is the most successful driver at this circuit, being a true local hero. The British GP always gives us one of the best races of the season, so keep an eye out for the next one.