Reports

British F1 Grand Prix

2017 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – SET UP

Silverstone and Formula 1 are inextricably linked. The former airfield hosted the first world championship grand prix in 1950 and it has been a regular fixture on the F1 calendar ever since. It’s been re-profiled several times, but it hasn’t lost its high-speed character; the fast corners demand the same respect today as they did 67 years ago

NEED TO KNOW

Race title 2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix
Circuit name Silverstone
First race 1950

TRAVEL

City Silverstone
Time zone BST
Population 13,000
Local speciality Bangers ‘n’ mash. That’s sausages, mashed potato and onion gravy. If, however, you want to try Britain’s most popular dish, then you’ll need to cook a chicken tikka masala
Weather Recent weather in the UK has been typically British: rain and sunshine. More of the same is forecast over the British Grand Prix weekend, with highs of 21 degrees in the Silverstone region

Track

Track length 5.891km / 3.660 miles
2016 pole position Lewis Hamilton - 1:29.287s
2016 winner Lewis Hamilton, 52 laps - 1:34:55.831s
2016 fastest lap Nico Rosberg - 1:35.548s (lap 44)
Lap record 1:33.401s (Mark Webber, 2013)
Tyre choice Red Supersoft | Yellow Soft | White Medium
Distance to Turn One 420m / 0.261 miles
Longest straight 780m / 0.485 miles (on the approach to Turn 15)
Top speed 320kmh / 199mph (on the approach to Turn 15)
Full throttle 66 percent
Brake wear Medium. There are three major braking points around the lap, into Turn Three (Village), Turn Six (Brooklands) and Turn 16 (Vale). One of the biggest challenges for the drivers is getting the brakes to perform when cold, particularly under braking for Vale, when they haven’t been used for the previous 45s
Fuel consumption 2.4kg per lap, which is high
ERS demands Medium. It’s a long lap, with high speeds. But the three major braking areas aid energy recovery
Gear changes 48 per lap / 2496 per race

RACE

Laps 52 laps
Start time 13:00hrs local / 14:00hrs CET
Grid advantage Pole position is on the left, the clean side of the grid. It also gives the pole-sitter the racing line into Turn One, a right-hander, which will be taken flat-out at the start if it’s dry
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns Six (Brooklands) and 16 (Stowe)
Don't put the kettle on... Tyre life will be affected by the increased cornering forces this year, brought about the new technical regulations. But taking last year’s race as a reference, Pirelli advised a maximum of 28 laps on the medium tyre and 14 of the 17 finishers comfortably exceeded that. If this year’s harder compounds hold up as expected, a one-stop strategy could be possible, on about lap 20
Pitlane length/Pitstops 489m/0.304 miles (longest of the season). Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 23s, which is relatively long
Safety Car There is a 60 per cent chance of a Safety Car. The wide run-off areas give the marshals room to deal with stricken cars, but accidents are usually high-speed, producing lots of debris
Watch out for... Turn Nine, Copse. It’s a surprisingly tight right-hander that opens up at the exit, allowing the drivers to carry phenomenal amounts of speed at the apex. With the extra downforce produced by the 2017 cars, it’s expected to be flat-in-eighth gear this year with an apex speed of 190mph (306km/h)

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO

“Silverstone is a racetrack that I enjoy coming back to year after year. Everyone knows it as a real driver’s track, with an incredible history and amazing support from the fans, so it’s a special weekend for every driver. For a McLaren driver, it’s even more special, and the reception we get from the British fans is always fantastic. 

“I really enjoy the challenge of this circuit, and a good result there always feels like its well-deserved, because it’s a tricky track and a tough race. I hope we will have more luck at our home race than we did last weekend in Austria – it was an unfortunate incident and I hope we can bounce back, fight hard as always, and see what we can do in the race. 

“The characteristics of the Silverstone circuit are high-speed, but also high-grip, and I’m excited to see how this year’s cars perform on this track – especially on the faster sections of the circuit. Let’s see if we can maximise the strengths of our car in the corners and fight for the best possible result for the team. It’s important that we can stay out of trouble at the start, and have good reliability throughout the weekend so that we can build momentum in every session leading up to the race.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

“I’m really looking forward to going to the British Grand Prix for the first time as part of a British team. At McLaren Honda, we are lucky that we receive amazing support from fans all over the world, but I know that the atmosphere at Silverstone is extra special. I’ve raced in the UK a number of times and I spend a lot of time there with the team, so it does feel like a second home to me now. 

“The track is really fun to drive – very fast and tricky in places, especially at the start of the lap, and then the last sector with its infield section requires a different set of skills and a stable, responsive car. I’m looking forward to seeing how our car behaves, particularly in those sections, and hopefully we can stand our ground against our nearest rivals. 

“I’ve stood on the Silverstone podium twice in GP2 and it was a great feeling. I hope I can have a positive weekend there again and have a smooth run up to Sunday, so we can maximise the package that we have. I feel comfortable in the car and we’re definitely making progress, so the aim is to be able to show that in front of the loyal fans and make the most of the weekend.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“For obvious reasons, the British Grand Prix is one of the stand-out races of the season for everyone at McLaren Honda, and not only because we are a British team. From a fan perspective, it means incredible enthusiasm and support, huge crowds and a passionate audience, the like of which we don’t often see at any other venue. 

“The Silverstone racetrack is also the stuff of legends, with its infamous corners – Copse, Becketts, Stowe – and it’s a circuit that has tested many a champion and delighted fans with its epic racing. It’s tough, too: high-speed, challenging, and very demanding on both the car and the driver – especially with the 2017 cars, which promise to look spectacular around this track. 

“While it won’t be the easiest of circuits on which we will put the MCL32 to the test, we are immensely looking forward to the typically awesome atmosphere that enjoy every year at Silverstone from the relentlessly vocal and passionate British fans, who never fail to lift us and carry us through the weekend. We will work as hard as ever, and we hope to put on a good show for our loyal fans, colleagues, partners and guests alike.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“The British Grand Prix marks the half way point of the season, and is one of the highlights on the Formula 1 calendar. It is one of the oldest and most iconic races, but also one of the most demanding for the team and drivers. 

“The layout, with its long straights and high-speed corners, has a great flow to it but puts every area of the car to the test – including the PU. It’s long and flat, and fuel and power hungry, so I’m expecting it to be challenging for us. And of course we will have the notoriously unpredictable British weather to contend with too. 

“The result in Austria wasn’t what we had hoped for or expected, but having said that, we showed some genuine progress which I hope we can continue to build on this weekend. We’re as motivated as ever, and working to move forward as quickly as we can. 

“Finally, Silverstone will also mark the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren Honda team this season, so we’re looking forward to what will be a busy but special weekend. The crowd is always amazing and we expect to have many fans, colleagues and family members watching, so we will do our very best to show them a good race and collect some points in front of the home crowd.”

2017 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE

“A PRETTY GOOD START TO OUR WEEKEND”

Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne made the most of a cold and blustery first day’s practice at Silverstone to end the day ninth and 16th respectively.

The drivers ran mixed programmes in order to maximise learning around this tricky circuit, where finding the optimal balance between straight-line and cornering speed is a difficult balancing act.

Both drivers and engineers felt satisfied with the results of today’s programme, and will work to refine th cars for qualifying tomorrow.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
FP1 1:30.933s (+1.887s) 20 laps 8th
FP2 1:30.238s (+1.742s) 28 laps 9th
FP3 1:30.138s (+2.075s) 17 laps 11th

“I’m pretty happy with how my day went. We’ve got several options we need to look at now, to choose the best one for tomorrow, but we’ve mainly been concentrating on race pace because we know that we’ll start from the back [with a 5-place ESS penalty].

“As we know, the lap-times are not that significant on a Friday. For the last couple of races we’ve been between 8th and 12th position, so we have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

“The main issue here is choosing what level of downforce you want to have. Depending on how much power you have, you take some wing off to be fast in the corners and defend yourself on the straights, or if you have little power and you want to be reasonably okay on the straights you have to use the smallest wing you have. It’s difficult to judge.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
FP1 1:31.041s (+1.935s) 27 laps 10th
FP2 1:30.782s (+2.286s) 31 laps 16th
FP3 1:30.088s (+2.025s) 19 laps 10th

“Today has actually been a pretty good start to our weekend. Given that this is a long circuit, with a lot of high-speed corners, I think our car has been performing well – I felt pretty comfortable out there.

“As usual, the times in the midfield are very close, so it’ll be the tiniest details that will make a difference during qualifying tomorrow. At the moment, we’re still exploring the car’s limits – particularly in the Becketts section of the lap. I think both Fernando and I had a moment during that part of the lap – just losing the rear on the entry of the final section.

“Fernando and I have been trying a lot of different downforce configurations throughout today’s sessions. Now I think we have a very good idea of what we should run tomorrow – we’ve done a lot of learning on that front.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“First and foremost, it’s fantastic to see Formula 1 performing in front of another packed British crowd. After the successful event in London on Wednesday, it’s incredibly uplifting to see tens of thousands of supporters in the grandstands and at the side of the track watching today’s sessions.

“I think we can feel pretty satisfied with what we achieved today. The entire team has done a fantastic job to make sure that our car is well balanced and comfortable to drive around this extremely demanding and tricky circuit.

“It’s still going to be a tough weekend for us – it’s a power-limited track, and we have to contend with a grid penalty on Fernando’s side of the garage, but it’s been a positive start.

“I hope we can achieve something this weekend to justify the spirit and enthusiasm of our tireless fans and supporters.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“The British Grand Prix weekend kicked off today in front of a great crowd of knowledgeable and enthusiastic fans – despite the chilly British weather!

“We were able to finish the first day without any major issues and both drivers completed their programmes.

“Although this is only the first day, we have a good feeling after the sessions and I think we’re in a good position for tomorrow’s qualifying. Of course, we have the notoriously unpredictable weather to contend with, but we will prepare as best we can to give the drivers a good package.

“Silverstone is also the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren Honda team this season, and so I’m sure our drivers will do their best for the crowd in qualifying tomorrow.”

2017 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

“AN EXCELLENT LAP, AND A STONKING LAP”

Stoffel Vandoorne will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone from eighth – the highest starting position in his Formula 1 career. Today’s result was a real validation of the efforts of the young Belgian and his engineers, who have worked well together over the past few races to alter their preparation and approach in order to maximise performance.

A bravura effort from Fernando Alonso in Q1 saw him scrape over the line by the tiniest of margins to start one last flying lap. It was worth it: on a drying but still damp track, on slicks, he established the fastest overall time of the first session.

After setting the 13th-fastest time in Q2, he will start from the back of the grid tomorrow owing to a 30-place grid penalty for PU component changes.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
Q1 1:37.598s (1st) Option tyre
Q2 1:30.600s (13th - will start 20th due to 30-place PU penalties ) Option tyre

“We made the right call at the end of Q1 by switching to Option tyres. We took advantage of a track that was on the limit at that moment – and it was nice to hear people cheering. It’s good for the guys in the garage as well: they deserve it as they have been working so hard these past couple of years, and, even if it’s just for one moment, to be up there at the top of the time sheets feels good.

“Not making it into Q3 allows us to choose our tyres for the race. We’ll start last, owing to the penalties; starting on used Q2 tyres wouldn’t have been ideal, so we’re relatively happy with 13th.

“Now we need to think about tomorrow. We proved today that we’re quite competitive in mixed conditions, so a wet/dry chaotic race could work in our favour. Hopefully it’ll stay like this tomorrow, weather-wise.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
Q1 1:40.011s (8th) Intermediate tyre
Q2 1:30.105s (10th) Option tyre
Q3 1:29.418s (9th - will start 8th due to Bottas's penalty) Option tyre

“To take part in Q3 at Silverstone was a bit unexpected. But I’ve been working very well for the past couple of races, and we’ve clearly seen the improvements inside the team – in Azerbaijan, in Austria, and here at Silverstone this weekend, Fernando and I largely matched each other’s pace. It’s obviously a pretty good feeling to have made that extra step.

“We’d been hoping to get a rainy mixed-condition qualifying for a long time, and I think we were pretty strong in these conditions all session long. Then, when the track got drier, we maximised every chance we got.

“As usual, it’s very close in the midfield pack, and we usually see that some of the others have got a little something extra for qualifying. But I think the mixed conditions really helped us today. Every time I was on track, I managed to bank a good lap-time, and I think ninth in Q3 was really the maximum we could do today.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“Stoffel has been very quick all weekend, and it was great to see him duly get it all hooked up so well here today.

“He drove an excellent lap in Q1 on Inters, posting the eighth-fastest time on slippery asphalt and thereby splitting the two Ferraris, and then continued his fine form on slicks in Q2, as the track dried, successfully making it through to Q3 in the process. He’ll start tomorrow’s race from eighth on the grid, following Valtteri’s [Bottas] five-place grid penalty. Well done, Stoff!   

“Fernando drove a stonking lap in Q1 on slicks to be quickest of all by the hefty margin of 1.3 seconds. It was almost too close for comfort – he nearly didn’t get his Q1 lap in – but, having crossed the line just in time, he made good his opportunity by totally nailing it. It was good to see – and the crowd’s cheers were great to hear, because our support here is simply fantastic. Thereafter, however, Fernando was unable to take part in Q3, but it was academic anyway, owing to his 30-place grid penalties.

“It’ll be interesting to watch our drivers tomorrow. Rain or shine, they’ll both be giving it their all. Fernando will surely make rapid progress in the early laps, while Stoffel will be striving to score his first world championship points of the season. Bonne chance!”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Today's qualifying was tricky due to the random rainy conditions. However, both drivers and the team did a great job in such a challenging situation.

“Stoffel found a good balance with his settings and he has kept strong momentum throughout the weekend. It was his second time to go to Q3 – including Monaco – and the performance he showed was very impressive.

“Although Fernando missed Q3 due to heavy traffic, his brave Q1 performance in the rain was a nice surprise not only for us but also for the fans watching from the grandstands in these chilly conditions.

“Having been able to show a good performance here in Silverstone, which is known as a power circuit, gives us some confidence regarding progress. Although we are still behind the front-runners, we are having concrete steps forward as a team.

“Tomorrow, Stoffel will start from eighth and Fernando will start from the back of the grid. But as we can expect unstable weather here in the UK, I think both drivers may have the chance to score points at our home grand prix.

“We’ll continue our best effort in order to show a good race in front of the home crowd.”

2017 BRITISH GRAND PRIX – RACE

"A SOLID AND IMPRESSIVE DRIVE FROM STOFFEL"

Stoffel Vandoorne finished this afternoon’s British Grand Prix in 11th position – agonisingly close to his first points-scoring position of the season.

After starting eighth, Stoffel ran as high as seventh in the race before pitting for tyres. A delayed 4.02s pit-stop allowed Felipe Massa to pass him in the pits and effectively ended his hopes of scoring a point.

Fernando suffered another disappointing race. After starting 20th, he carved his way through the field to run as high as 13th in the opening laps. A fuel pressure problem ended his race just after half-distance.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
Started 20th
Finished DNF (fuel pressure problem)
Fastest lap 1:34.263s (lap 22) +3.642 (18th)
Pit stops One - lap 20 (3.20s) Option > Prime

“It was a difficult weekend for us, starting last with the penalties; then in the race, when I was following a group of cars, I had another issue.

“Hopefully, it hasn’t done any damage to the engine and we’ll be able to keep using it in the future.

“Stoffel was 11th today, so I think we weren’t quick enough to be in the points today and I think I could have ended up 13th or 14th, so the retirement is a little bit less painful than it would be if we’d lost a points finish.

“Now I’m looking ahead to Hungary, which should be a better weekend for us.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
Started 8th
Finished 11th
Fastest lap 1:33.464s (lap 43) +2.843s (8th)
Pit stops One - lap 26 (4.02s) Option > Prime

“It’s a shame to once again finish just outside the points – but there are plenty of positives to take away from this weekend.

“The pace we showed in the race today was very encouraging: to run as close as we did to both Force Indias and a Williams on a circuit like this is a real positive.

“Not everything went perfectly in the race – my pit-stop didn’t go too smoothly, so I came out side-by-side with Felipe and lost a position. That was a shame, because there was definitely a chance to finish ahead of him because our pace was very similar to his.

“So, unfortunately, no points – but today was very encouraging, and I’m sure our time will come.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“From the back of the grid Fernando made a strong start, carving his way through the backmarkers, and was holding a solid 13th place by one-third distance. Meanwhile Stoffel was holding a steady ninth place.

“It was therefore disappointing when Fernando was forced to retire on lap 35, as a result of a drop in fuel pressure that led to a loss of power. We’re still investigating the cause of that failure.

“With 10 laps to go, Stoffel was locked in a battle for 10th place with Felipe. In the end his hopes of scoring a world championship point were to come to naught, but his was a solid and impressive drive nonetheless.

“From here we go to the Hungaroring, over whose many twists and turns, linked as they are by short straights, we hope to be a little more competitive.”

 

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“This weekend ended on a frustrating note as Stoffel just missed out on a world championship point at our home race. Up until today, things had been looking up and we had been showing some encouraging pace.

“Stoffel started his race from a good position and he showed competitive pace in the midfield throughout the race. He pushed as hard as possible so therefore it was disappointing that he finished 11th, just outside of the points.

“Although Fernando had to start from the back of the grid, he improved his position during the first part of the race, and was close to Stoffel. Sadly, he had a fuel system-related issue and had to retire from the race. We’re now investigating the cause.

“Having said this, I still think we leave Silverstone with some positivity. We had improved pace and our competiveness has also improved over the past few races. Next up is Hungary which is a track that suits our package better, so I hope we can have a good race. We’ll continue our best efforts towards scoring some points at the next round.”