Stuttgart, Jun 06, 2006
On 13th May 1950, Silverstone hosted the first out of the 757 World Championship races in Formula One history. At that time, the track was 4.7kms long and the winner at the debut race Giuseppe Farina clocked an average speed of 152.982 km/h on his fastest lap. In 2005, Team McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen posted the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of 229.902 km/h.
Silverstone has been the location for 39 British Grands Prix. Over the years Aintree and Brands Hatch have also held the event, on five and twelve occasions respectively. Originally an airfield, Silverstone is located deep in the Northamptonshire countryside, some 70 miles / 112kms north of London.
McLaren has won 13 out of the 40 British Grands Prix it has entered to date. Team McLaren Mercedes has won four of the last seven races including Juan Pablo’s maiden win for the team last year, David Coulthard’s victories in 1999 and 2000, which was a double victory ahead of Mika Hakkinen, and Mika Hakkinen’s win in 2001.
“The British Grand Prix is one I really want to win, as with Monaco it is another of the legendary races on a great track, and of course a home race for the team. Overtaking is possible, so pole position is not so important as in Monaco. I think there will be some different strategies come race day. When we were testing here in late April, the lap times were quicker than in 2005 because we are faster through the corners this year, most of the time has been found in the mid corner performance. This is partly because the smaller V8 engines allow new aero opportunities and also improved Michelin performance from last year. Where this had the most effect was at Copse, which is even quicker now than before, as it has always been one of the fastest we race through. You have to be flat through the right hander, otherwise you lose a lot of time, however because it is now quicker than before you have to be very precise, it has made the corner more of a challenge.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA
“It was great to be back on the podium at Monaco and everyone in the team has continued to push hard since to try and find more performance in the car for the British Grand Prix. Silverstone is a great track, with some really exciting corners, I love to race at it and I hope we can repeat the result from last year when I took my debut victory for the team in front of our home crowd. It is such a contrast to the streets of Monte Carlo, it is all about super fast corners and pushing the limits of the car. The Maggots – Becketts – Chapel sequence at the start of the lap is awesome, you have to push really hard through here, so long as you have the good balance you need, and are changing direction so quickly, hooking up the apexes, it is great fun! In addition to needing good balance, it is important to find a set-up compromise between high speed stability for much of the track and good grip to ensure we are also quick for the slower corners at the end of the circuit. Silverstone tends to be quite hard on the tyres, the left front sees the greatest wear because of the fast right hand corners.”
MARTIN WHITMARSH, CEO FORMULA ONE, TEAM McLAREN MERCEDES
“Whilst Silverstone is a completely different racing environment to Monaco, placing different challenges on the car and drivers, Team McLaren Mercedes is determined to keep the momentum of our performance step at Monaco going into our home Grand Prix. However, the test at Barcelona was a key exercise in the build-up to the British Grand Prix, because as with Silverstone, the Circuit de Catalunya is a demanding track on the car as a whole and we are aware we still have improvements to make to our competitiveness. At the test we focused on front and rear suspension and aerodynamic developments, alongside the Michelin selection process for the British Grand Prix, we had a solid week and completed over 2,300km. Silverstone demands peak performance from both the car and driver, and with the quick sections such as Copse and the Maggott complex aero efficiency is once again vital.”
NORBERT HAUG, VICE PRESIDENT, MERCEDES-BENZ MOTORSPORT
“The Silverstone circuit has a unique layout and there is nothing similar to it during the whole Formula One season. It is absolutely correct that Silverstone is known as “Home of British Motor Racing” as the circuit has a long tradition and with its fast corners it still is a great challenge for teams and drivers. With the new V8 engines some sectors will be driven flat out whilst with the V10 engines drivers had to lift or even to brake. Nevertheless the speeds in some corners are higher now which is due to the improved aerodynamics and the new tyre generation. For the team Silverstone is a home Grand Prix besides Nürburgring and Hockenheim and Juan Pablo Montoya won there last year. With our tests in Barcelona after the Monaco Grand Prix we hope to have made another step.