The new Silverstone Grand Prix circuit was unveiled today, with a new sequence of corners on the second half of the lap which promise better overtaking, better spectating and more challenges for the drivers.
The circuit recently secured the British Grand Prix for a minimum of 10 years with the possibility of 17 years.
The new layout features seven new corners and starts with a revision to Club corner. Next is a new Abbey curve, which goes right instead of left and takes the cars back infield towards Becketts. Abbey is 15 degrees more open than Copse Corner and is therefore faster at 295km/h.
After that Farm Curve is a 275 km/h left hander, which leads to Village, a tight right hander at 116km/h, where overtaking is anticpated. This leads onto a 100m long straight to a left hander called The Loop. Here a car which found itself on the outside for Village can repass.
After that there is a corner called Aintree, which opens onto the back straight, which is 100m shorter than the Hangar Straight and equally fast. This leads into Brooklands, which is quite different in character for the F1 cars now, as the apex is much later. Club racers have used Brooklands in this configuration for many years and it has always produced a lot of overtaking.
The lap length has increased from 5.1km to 5.9km and is faster than the old layout with an average lap speed of around 250km/h, maintaining Silverstone’s reputation as a high speed track.
Silverstone is 92% sold out for this year’s Grand Prix. It has also been inspected yesterday by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting and has received its licence for the next three years.
Unlike most modern F1 tracks, the new Silvestone has been designed, not by Hermann Tilke, but by London based firm, Populous. They also designed the new Wembley Stadium, Ascot, the Emirates stadium and the 2012 Olympic Stadium. Populous like to think that they are more focussed on fans experience than their rivals.
Below is a chart given to me by Drew Macdonald, who designed the new corners.
Red Bull’s Mark Webber was at the launch and approved of the new track, “It’s been a brilliant circuit for years,” he said. ” The new section looks like it has a mix of high speed corners and a more technical section. It’s also undulating, so a good mix all round and it should suit the Red Bull car.”