FIA preview of the 2014 British Grand Prix: 4 – 6 JULY 2014
Round nine of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship sees the majority of teams faced with a short trip to their local race: the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Silverstone sets a different challenge to the circuits that have gone before this season, its defining characteristic being high-speed changes of direction that will severely test 2014’s reduced downforce specification.
There is more, however, to the modern Silverstone than just its fast cornes. The Arena layout, introduced in 2010, has subtly changed the nature of the circuit. Drivers were slow to appreciate the changes but today the infield section has acquired many fans, with the variety of lines through Turns Three and Four creating more overtaking opportunities leading into the first DRS zone on the Wellington Straight.
After three races in a row with the soft and supersoft compounds, Pirelli this weekend goes to the other end of the scale with the hard and medium tyres as the succession of medium and high-speed corners puts huge amounts of energy through the rubber. Something else to factor in when considering those corners is the fact that Silverstone is not especially demanding on the brakes. With drivers braking for only around eight per cent of the long lap, recovering the maximum allowed amount of energy through the MGU-K every lap will prove difficult, as was the case with KERS.
Mercedes have pulled a long way clear in the Constructors’ Championship but a battle royal rages between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Rosberg leads by 29 points but, with 11 races to go, Hamilton is far from an underdog. He has four victories to Rosberg’s three and has been unfortunate to suffer both of Mercedes’ terminal mechanical failures this season. The Briton will be highly motivated to begin closing the gap at his home race.
British GP Fast Facts
► The British Grand Prix is one of two ever-present races on the Formula One World Championship calendar. The other race featuring every year since 1950 is the Italian Grand Prix.
► Three venues have hosted the British Grand Prix during the World Championship era. Silverstone shared the early races with Aintree, which held races in 1955, ’57, ’59 and 1961-2. Aintree was replaced by Brands Hatch, which held the British Grand Prix in even years between 1964-1986. Silverstone has hosted all of the other races.
► 2014 marks the 48th running of the Formula One World Championship British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The circuit, however, is celebrating it’s 50th race, having hosted pre-World Championship grands prix in 1948 and 1949. Both of those races were won by Maserati, courtesy of drivers Luigi Villoresi and Baron Emmanuel ‘Toulo’ de Graffenried respectively. Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina won the inaugural world championship race in 1950. Before Silverstone, a British Grand Prix was held at the Brooklands circuit in 1926 and 1927.
► Silverstone is situated in an area known as ‘Motorsport Valley’. Eight of the 11 F1 teams are clustered within 125km of the track. In order of distance they are McLaren (125km), Williams (65km), Caterham (59km), Lotus (40km), Red Bull (33km), Marussia (24km) and Mercedes (13km), with Force India based a few hundred metres from the front gates of the circuit. Additionally, Mercedes High Performance Powertrains’ manufacturing facility is based 33km from the circuit and Toro Rosso’s wind tunnel is located 23km away.
► Mercedes have dominated 2014 with seven victories and seven poles from the eight races so far. Neither driver, however, has shown dominant form at Silverstone in the past. In Nico Rosberg’s eight races he has been outqualified by his various team-mates five times. Lewis Hamilton has been outqualified by his team-mates three times in seven attempts. As team-mates in 2013 Mercedes locked out the front row with Hamilton on pole – but Rosberg won the race after Hamilton suffered a tyre failure.
► Jim Clark (1962, ’63, ’64, ’65, ’67) and Alain Prost (1983, ’85, ’89, ’90, ’93) share top billing at the British Grand Prix with five victories each. One behind them is this weekend’s driver steward Nigel Mansell who won in 1986, ’87, ’91 and ’92. Mansell did, however claim five victories on home soil, winning the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch a year before winning the British Grand Prix at the same circuit. Mansell is one of only two drivers to have won differently titled grands prix at the same circuit (Nelson Piquet won the 1980 Italian and 1981 San Marino Grands Prix at Imola.)
► Austria marked Mercedes’ sixth one-two finish of the eight races so far this season. McLaren hold the record with 10, set in 1988 by Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna.
British GP, Race Stewards, Biographies
DR GERD ENNSER, MEMBER OF THE DMSB’S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR AUTOMOBILE SPORT, FORMULA ONE AND DTM STEWARD
Dr Gerd Ennser has successfully combined his formal education in law with his passion for motor racing. While still active as a racing driver he began helping out with the management of his local motor sport club and since 2006 has been a permanent steward at every round of Germany’s DTM championship. Since 2010 he has also been a Formula One steward. Dr Ennser, who has worked as a judge, a prosecutor and in the legal department of an automotive-industry company, has also acted as a member of the steering committee of German motor sport body, the DMSB, since spring 2010, where he is responsible for automobile sport. In addition, Dr Ennser is a board member of the South Bavaria Section of ADAC, Germany’s biggest auto club.
TIM MAYER, FIA DEPUTY DELEGATE TO THE USA, FIA STEWARD
As the son of former McLaren team principal Teddy Mayer, Tim Mayer grew up around motor sport. He organised IndyCar races internationally from 1992-98, aided the construction of several circuits, and produced international TV for multiple series. In 1998 he became CART’s Senior VP for Racing Operations. He also became VP of ACCUS, the US ASN. In 2003, Mayer became COO of IMSA, operating multiple series at all levels, and also took on the role of COO and Race Director of the American Le Mans Series. He was elected an independent Director of ACCUS and FIA US Alternate Delegate, responsible for US World Championship events.
NIGEL MANSELL, 1992 FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPION, 1993 CART CHAMPION
From 187 grand prix starts Mansell took 32 pole positions, 31 victories and 28 other podium finishes. He raced for Team Lotus, Williams, Ferrari and McLaren, winning the FIA Formula One 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 Formula One and CART titles simultaneously. Mansell is a four-times winner of the British Grand Prix, with three of those victories coming at Silverstone. (FIA)