Reports

British F1 Grand Prix

2016 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - PREVIEW

Circuit Stats
2015 winner Lewis Hamilton 52 laps, 1:31:27.729s
2015 pole position Lewis Hamilton 1m32.248s
2015 fastest lap Lewis Hamilton 1m37.093s (lap 29)
Name Silverstone
First race 1950
Circuit length 5.891km/3.660-mile (fourth longest of the season)
Distance to Turn One 420m (longest of season: Barcelona 730m)
Longest straight Hangar Straight, 780m on the approach to Turn 15
Top speed 320km/h, on the approach to Turn 15 (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h)
Pitlane length 489m, the longest of the season. Estimated time loss 23s
Full throttle 66 per cent (highest of season: Monza, 75 per cent)
DRS zones Two, on the approaches to Turns Six and 15
Key corner Turn Seven, a double-apex right-hander. A clean exit is vital because a long period of full throttle follows, during which the drivers don’t hit the brakes for 40s.
Fastest corner 290km/h, Turn 10
Slowest corner 90km/h, Turn 4
Major changes for 2016 None
Fuel consumption 2.5kg per lap, which is high
ERS demands Medium. It’s a long lap and there are several significant braking points to help ERS recovery
Brake wear Medium. While this is a relatively easy circuit on brakes, it’s hard to maximise their potential. Getting the carbon discs up to temperature at the end of the Hangar Straight, after 40s of flat-out running, is something of a black art
Gear changes 48 per lap /2,496 per race

Circuit Facts
History lesson Silverstone is one of the oldest and most iconic circuits on the F1 calendar. A former WWII airfield, the track hosted the first world championship grand prix on 13 May 1950 and it’s been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987. The track was the scene of F1’s first 160mph lap, in 1985, and it remains one of the fastest and most challenging circuits in the world
What makes the track unique The number of fast corners, many of which are linked. To watch an F1 car through Copse-Maggotts-Becketts is a sight to behold
Grip levels Good. The asphalt is old and the cornering speeds are mostly high, a combination that provides good levels of grip
Run-off Plentiful. The one thing this former airfield doesn’t lack is space. Having said that, Michael Schumacher broke a leg when he crashed at the end of the Hangar Straight in 1999
Watch out for… Turn Nine, Copse. This is one of the fastest corners in F1: in qualifying it’s taken flat-out in top gear, whereas in the race it gets faster as the fuel load burns off

DRIVERS ON: THE CIRCUIT

FERNANDO ALONSO

“The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the year for every driver. The fans are very knowledgeable and very fair, and the circuit is a fantastic high-speed challenge. It’s one of the few places where the drivers feel like they’ve been let off the leash because you can really feel the aerodynamic grip at Silverstone, which makes it very pleasurable to drive.

“This is also the home race of McLaren. A lot of the factory-based staff come to watch us at the track, which is special and it would be fantastic to get a good result for all of them.”

JENSON BUTTON

“I’ve been going to Silverstone for almost as long as I can remember. I raced there in karts, in Formula Ford, in Formula 3 and, of course, in F1 for the last 16 years. It’s a wonderful track and the British fans are something else. They’ve given me unflinching support during my career, through the good times and the bad, and for that I’m hugely grateful.

“The high-speed corners are great fun, and, whatever your car’s level of competitiveness, you can’t help but smile as you drive through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts because it’s so fast through there. Silverstone is one of my highlights of the year.”

Event Stats
Start time 13:00 local/1200 GMT
Race distance 52 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 percent distance/39 laps)
Safety Car likelihood Low, due to the large run-off areas. Statistically there’s a 55 percent chance of a Safety Car, but it has been deployed for the last two years after crashes on the opening lap of the race
When to press record Qualifying. Every lap of Silverstone is spectacular, but none more than in qualifying, when the cars are light and the power units are tuned to deliver maximum horsepower. Through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts the drivers pull up to 5g lateral, which is quite literally breathtaking
Don’t put the kettle on Lap 10 onwards, which is when the drivers are expected to make their first pitstops. This is the first time that Pirelli has taken its soft tyre to Silverstone, so the race could be a more interesting strategic battle than in years past
Weather conditions NOW 17 degrees and cloudy RACE FORECAST 18 degrees
Tyre choices Soft/Medium/Hard, a combination that was last seen at the Spanish Grand Prix

Event Facts
First British Grand Prix 1950
Official Slogan The Home of British Motorsport
Britain’s F1 heritage Silverstone’s association with Formula 1 extends back as far as the World Championship itself, to 1950. It has been the focal point of the British motorsport industry, which employs 50,000 people, and eight of the 11 teams competing in F1 are based within a 100-mile radius of the circuit
Smallest win margin 0.765s, in 2013. This was a race in which there were many retirements and several changes for the lead. Lewis Hamilton led the race until a tyre failure forced him to pit; Sebastian Vettel inherited the lead, until his race was cut short by a gearbox problem, which handed the lead to Nico Rosberg. The German didn’t have it all his own way and he finished less than 1s ahead of Mark Webber
Sporting legacy Britain is synonymous with Formula 1. Silverstone staged the inaugural World Championship race in 1950, and Britain has held a grand prix every year since then. There have been 144 British grand prix drivers and 10 British world champions, which is more than any other country, and eight of the 11 F1 teams are based in the UK. If that wasn’t enough, the commercial arm of the sport, Formula One Management, is based in London
Did you know? There have been three different homes to the British Grand Prix: Aintree, Brands Hatch and Silverstone
Don’t forget McLaren has won the British Grand Prix 14 times, most recently in 2008
Fan zone Gina, aged 41, from Towcester. “Given that this is your home race, do you do anything different from an operational point of view?”
McLaren’s answer: The only difference is that no-one gets on a plane! The rhythm of the race weekend is the same as ever: we arrive at the track at the same time and everyone stays in the same hotel to make logistics easier. You can’t even say the journey home is quicker because the traffic around London can be very slow on a Sunday evening!”

DRIVERS ON: THE EVENT

FERNANDO ALONSO

“My victories at Silverstone were very special. Both were exciting races and I will never forget the reception I received from the crowd when I came onto the podium. It was fantastic and it’s that generosity towards all of the drivers, and not only the British ones, that gives the race such a special atmosphere.

“From a performance point of view, it’s important that we get through the whole weekend cleanly, efficiently and without problems. We’ve had a couple of tricky races, but, through it all, there have been some genuine glimpses of progress.

“For me, I want to make progress through Friday and Saturday, then be able to deliver a performance on Sunday that justifies all our efforts. We can do it, and to be able to turn that corner in front of thousands of McLaren-Honda fans would be a fantastic reward for the whole team.”

JENSON BUTTON

Finishing on the podium at the British Grand Prix is top of my ‘to do’ list in F1. I’ve achieved pretty much everything else that I set out to do in F1, but I’ve never stood on the podium at Silverstone. I really want to do that and it would feel like a victory if I were to achieve it.

Of course, the result in Austria last week really motivates everybody, and it raises everyone’s expectations, too. It would be lovely to be able to claim that a podium this year might finally be possible, but, being realistic, that won’t be possible this time.

“But I head to Silverstone feeling hugely encouraged by our progress, and just what we can achieve as a team when the variable are thrown into the air and all the teams are left to somewhat improvise: we can do great things.

It goes without saying that I’ll be giving it everything at Silverstone this weekend.”

HEAR FROM THE MANAGEMENT

Eric Boullier

 “Silverstone is a very special race, both for the fans and for the people who work in Formula 1. The circuit has something for everyone: it has history, it has fast corners and it has a unique atmosphere. It’s a privilege to go racing there.

“And, of course, the British Grand Prix is the first of McLaren-Honda’s two ‘home’ races, along with Suzuka in Japan. We have many great memories of racing at Silverstone, a place where we’ve scored many notable victories over the years.

“This year we do battle with a much improved MP4-31. Jenson’s result in Austria showed that, when everything comes together, we can perform operationally at a high standard; but, equally, the isses that affected Fernando on both Saturday and Sunday show that we still need to raise our game on every front.

“It’s important to remember that we were able to punch above our weight in Austria, but, with so many McLaren-Honda fans in the crowd this weekend, we’ll be doing our best to pull another strong result out of the bag.”

Yusuke Hasegawa

“The British Grand Prix needs no introduction as it is one of the oldest and most iconic races on the F1 calendar. It is also one of the most challenging races, with a reputation as one of F1's few remaining power circuits. The track is long and flat, and power and fuel hungry, which will no doubt create a fierce midfield battle for us, but I think we have learned from both Baku and Austria that we are definitely progressing forward as a team, and it is up to us to extract the most out of the car throughout the weekend.

"Silverstone will also mark the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren-Honda team this season, so we are looking forward to what will be a busy but special weekend. The British fans are some of the most passionate in the world and they have always shown Honda great support throughout our years in Formula One.

"It's the fans and their passion that make the British Grand Prix so special, so we hope that we can bring both cars home within the points in front of the home crowd.”

2016 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - PRACTICE

“Smooth progress in both sessions”

Strong winds made progress difficult during the first day of practice for Sunday’s British Grand Prix. The weather became gusty during the afternoon session, with both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso reporting that it was difficult to balance their cars due to the winds. 

Jenson had a minor engine data issue in FP2 – it halted set-up progress while his engineers and mechanics worked to identify the problem, but, once he’d fitted the Option tyre at the end of the session, he was able to record some useful lap-times.

#14 Fernando Alonso, MP4-31-02
FP1 1m33.527s (+1.873s), 22 laps, 10th
FP2 1m33.040s (+1.380s), 31 laps, 6th

“Everything feels okay with this weekend’s PU upgrade – hopefully, the engineers can look at the numbers to validate the improvements and check reliability for the rest of the weekend. I know Jenson had some trouble in FP2, so we need to avoid any reliability issues in order to score some points on Sunday 

“We’ve regularly been performing well on Fridays, but we still to extract more performance from the car on Saturdays. Still, we’ve managed to get into Q3 for the past couple of races, so we’ll try and repeat that again tomorrow. 

"It’s very windy out there, and there’s more wind and rain forecast for tomorrow, so it could be difficult for everyone.”

#22 Jenson Button, MP4-31-03
FP1 1m34.132s (+2.478s), 24 laps, 12th
FP2 1m33.763s (+2.103s), 20 laps, 9th

“I had a tricky afternoon session: I did one lap on the Prime tyre at the start of the session, then had a problem and had to sit in the garage for half an hour, then went out and completed one lap, had another problem, and was only able to get out on the Option tyre at the very end. 

“Hopefully the problems we encountered today will be resolved by tomorrow and we can get some running in – fortunately, it appears to be more about number-crunching on the laptops than anything else, so we should be able to get back on track. 

“Nonetheless, it still looks like it’ll be difficult to get into Q3 tomorrow, but if we get a clear morning session, I think that would help improve our fortunes for qualifying. 

“Fernando found some good pace today – so tomorrow my car will hopefully be fitted with new components, we’ll get some positive running under our belts, and we’ll look a bit more competitive, too.”

Eric Boullier

“It was a fairly routine Friday for both drivers, albeit one made trickier by the extremely blustery conditions that affected the track throughout the day.

“Fernando made smooth progress through both sessions, but Jenson was delayed at the start of the FP2 while his mechanics investigated the source of some irregular engine data. 

“Finally, it’s great to see so many enthusiastic fans packing out the grandstands on the first day of the race weekend. It’s always inspiring and motivating to see how popular the sport is here in the UK, and it really gives the whole team a boost to see that level of support.”

Yusuke Hasegawa

"Silverstone is a track that tests all aspects of the car, therefore it is still too early to confirm if our engine update has taken full effect. Both Fernando and Jenson struggled with the gusty winds and the low grip track, which destabilised the cars and made them difficult to drive. However, even though Jenson was limited in FP2 running due to engine data issues, our day’s results were surprisingly encouraging, and we think we are heading in the right direction overall. 

"Not surprisingly, we are expecting a rainy Saturday and Sunday, but we are hoping that we can reach Q3 without relying on changing conditions as we did at the Austrian GP"

2016 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - QUALIFYING

“I’d love to see two McLaren-Hondas in the points tomorrow”

A day of mixed fortunes for the McLaren-Honda team in front of a packed house at Silverstone. 

Fernando Alonso had a straightforward session, climbing through into Q3 – the fifth time this year that the team has qualified a car inside the top 10. He set an eighth-fastest 1m31.687s in Q3, but had the time disqualified for exceeding track limits; his 1m32.343s put him 10th, but he will start ninth owing to Sebastian Vettel’s five-place grid penalty. 

Jenson Button’s long-running Silverstone jinx sadly continued this afternoon. On his first run in Q1, the rear-wing endplate became unbonded from the floor halfway through the lap, causing a loss of downforce. Once he had returned to the garage, the mechanics effected a fix, but they ran out of time to get him back on track for a second run before the end of the session. He will start 17th.

#14 Fernando Alonso, MP4-31-02
FP3 7th, 1m32.754s (+1.850s), 11 laps
Q1 9th, 1m32.281s (on Options)
Q2 9th, 1m31.740s (on Options)
Q3 10th overall* 1m32.343s (on Options) * will start ninth owing to VET penalty

“This weekend has been positive for us so far. 

“We’re still missing a little bit of speed along the straights, but we can fortunately compensate for that through the long corners around here. So I think we’re in a position where we could score points tomorrow. 

“In qualifying, we ultimately didn’t have the speed to climb any higher in Q3; but starting ninth, following Sebastian’s [Vettel] penalty, is a good place for us, particularly after two races with reliability issues. 

“There’s wet weather forecast for tomorrow, and some drops of rain in the middle of the race would make it more fun for me, so I think we’re ready for anything that comes our way. 

“I’d love to see two McLaren-Hondas in the points tomorrow.”

#22 Jenson Button, MP4-31-03
FP3 12th, 1m33.042s (+2.138 s), 11 laps
Q1 17th, 1m32.788s (on Options)

“It hasn’t been a lucky weekend for me so far. One of the rear-wing endplates became detached from the floor on my first flying lap in Q1, and the rear end of the car slowly deteriorated for the remainder of the lap. 

“It happened into Turn Eight, which is where the high-speed corners start, and where you need downforce, so I’m surprised I even did the lap time I did, to be honest. 

“We tried to fix it in order go out again for a second run, but sadly we ran out of time. 

“Still, I’m smiling because it is what is. We’ll deal with it, and we’ll come out of it stronger. I’ll be hoping for rain and something unexpected to happen in the race, and I’m still aiming for points tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier

“Today’s qualifying session was a game of two halves, if you’ll excuse the cliché. 

“First of all, Jenson’s rear-wing endplate unbonded itself from his car’s floor, and the resulting damage took too long to repair to enable him to go for a second hot lap. That was a great pity, because Jenson was understandably keen to impress at his home grand prix. 

“Fernando has been ‘on it’ all weekend, and he continued to perform extremely well in today’s qualifying hour. He progressed through Q1 and Q2 with impressive sang froid, and duly recorded the eighth-fastest lap of the afternoon. However, he lost a lap owing to the ‘track limits’ rule, demoting him to P10, which will become P9 tomorrow as a result of Sebastian’s penalty. 

“Tomorrow’s forecast is for showers in the afternoon – and, that being the case, bearing in mind the tried-and-tested brilliance of both our drivers in unsettled weather conditions, do not be surprised to see both Fernando and Jenson making good progress once the five red lights go out on the start-line gantry tomorrow afternoon. 

“The British Grand Prix means a lot to all of us at McLaren-Honda, and we would be truly delighted if we were able to give our fans, who are undoubtedly the best fans in the world, something to cheer about.”

Yusuke Hasegawa

"Today was further confirmation of our progress this season, despite a mixed final qualifying result. Fernando drove back into Q3 for the first time since Canada, with a brilliant final flying lap that put him P8 on the grid at this power-hungry Silverstone Circuit. Sadly his time was deleted due to exceeding the track limits, but he will start ninth on the grid due to Vettel's penalty. 

"Unfortunately, Jenson had to settle for P17. He was unable to run for a second time in Q1 due to an unbounded rear-wing endplate from the floor, so we look forward to seeing him fight to gain positions in the race tomorrow."

2016 BRITISH GRAND PRIX - RACE

“It wasn’t an easy afternoon… but undoubtedly our time will come”

It was an uneventful home race for McLaren-Honda, Jenson Button finishing 12th and Fernando Alonso 13th after failing to make significant progress in the wet-to-dry conditions. 

The opportunity to capitalise in the opening laps was negated by the decision to start the race behind the Safety Car. With few strategic options available, Fernando dropped places in the busy pit-lane as half the field stopped to switch from Full Wets to Intermediates. A lap-24 spin – on a wet track at Turn One – dropped him farther down the order, and a late switch to a fresh set of Primes failed to enable him to climb back into the top 10. 

Jenson drove cleanly throughout, but his climb through the field slowed after everyone switched to dry-weather tyres. He pushed to close the gap to the top 10, but he eventually finished 12th.

#14 Fernando Alonso, MP4-31-02
Started 10th
Finished 13th
Fastest lap 1m35.669s on lap 43 (+0.121s, 2nd)
Pit-stops Three: lap 5 (5.74s), 17 (2.56s) and 39 (2.83s) [Full Wet-Inter-Prime-Prime]

“There’s not much to be proud about after finishing 12th and 13th today. 

“In the tricky conditions at the start, you can go from hero to zero in the space of one lap, so we just did what we could with the strategy. We lost some positions during the stops, unfortunately, so we need to go away and look at that. 

“There was a point in the race where I felt I could have scored a few points – when I was pushing hard behind Felipe [Massa] – but it was just too difficult to overtake. Then I went off at Turn One. 

“It was a tough race, but, even though it may not look like it, I think we’ve made a step forward this weekend; we’re more competitive. We could fight with Williams, Force India and Toro Rosso in the race, and that’s good news.”

#22 Jenson Button, MP4-31-03
Started 17th
Finished 12th
Fastest lap 1m37.907s on lap 36 (+2.359s, 16th)
Pit-stops Two: lap 6 (2.48s) and 17 (2.85s) [Full Wet-Inter-Prime]

“It was definitely the right decision to start the race behind the Safety Car – it was super-wet and there was loads of standing water, but I think it should have been recalled two laps earlier. 

“Then, when the Safety Car pitted, everyone boxed for Inters, so I decided to do the opposite, which was a good thing as I overtook a couple of cars. For the second stop, it was better to stop sooner rather than later, but I was stuck behind Valterri [Bottas], so I stayed out for another lap. 

“My race wasn’t helped by starting 17th: to get into the points, we need to qualify inside the top 10, hold on in the race, not make mistakes and hope to stay there. I couldn’t really close on the cars in front of me because we don’t yet have quite enough pace in the car to make up sufficient places in the race. 

“It wasn’t an easy afternoon, but it was great to see all the fans cheering at the end. They got a British victory as well, so I’m sure they’re very happy.”

Eric Boullier

“Obviously we aren’t happy to have finished 12th and 13th in our home grand prix.   

“Having said that, I want to say ‘well done’ to Jenson and Fernando, who both coped admirably in extremely challenging conditions, especially in the early stages of the race, when aquaplaning was a significant hazard.   “They never gave up, and continued to push, right to the end. Indeed, had Fernando not gone off when he was dicing with Felipe [Massa], he may well have scored points.   

“Equally, I want to pay tribute to Honda, whose power units ran like clockwork all weekend.   

“Next we go to the Hungaroring, whose tortuous nature we hope will suit our car’s performance envelope rather better than has Silverstone this weekend.   

“Last but very far from least, I want to say a final ‘thank you’ on behalf of all at McLaren-Honda to the Silverstone crowd, the best race fans in the world, who braved an early downpour uncomplainingly and then cheered the local winner to the echo. We’re only sorry that it wasn’t a McLaren-Honda victory they were acclaiming, but undoubtedly our time will come.”

Yusuke Hasegawa

“Both the team and our drivers did a solid job during the ever-changing conditions of the race. There were many chaotic moments in the pit-lane due to the safety car start, and out on track due to the track conditions, but the pit-stops and the garage work were spot-on today. 

“From our point of view it was another encouraging weekend. Reliability was once again good and the drivers were able to have some great on track battles. 

“However, it was a disappointing end as Fernando was running well until mid-race, and there was a possibility for us to be in the points. 

“However, we were just not strong enough today.”