Williams and its home circuit of Silverstone are inextricably linked. The team scored its first grand prix victory at the track in 1979 and it went on to take its 100th win there as well, in 1997.
Silverstone has had more facelifts than any other track on the calendar, yet it’s managed to retain its fast and challenging nature. The start of the lap – Copse, Becketts and Stowe – is one of the most challenging pieces of racetrack anywhere in the world.
Sam Michael, Technical Director: Although there were some significant changes to the circuit layout recently, Silverstone remains a great track for drivers. There is also a new pit complex in a different location which will be somewhat strange having been in the same pit area for so many years! Silverstone is a high speed, fast corner track where aero is dominant. We have a new front wing and some diffuser modifications to test for this race. Significantly, blowing the diffuser during braking is no longer allowed, so we’ll be working with the new software through Friday’s practice sessions to re-tune our set-up. That doesn’t mean that we won’t run a blown diffuser, as the gains are still there when exiting the corner on throttle, but we’ll evaluate two different types of diffusers before we decide which direction to take for qualifying and the race.
Rubens Barrichello: Silverstone remains one of my favourite races. I love going there and it is also important for the team as it is their home event. The circuit organisers have made some changes this year which could prove interesting at the start of practice. We all know what every corner is called, but drivers tend to use numbers rather than names over the radio. They’ve moved the start/finish straight, so we’ll have to remember that Abbey, which we used to refer to as Turn 11, is now Turn 1! I’m sure it won’t be a problem though as I think Silverstone has done a phenomenal job and I’m looking forward to getting there to see the new pit complex.
As a team, we have a tough job ahead of us this weekend. At the last race we didn’t run the revised exhaust, but post race I think it would have been stronger, so we’ll be testing that at Silverstone. It’s going to be important for us to get the new bits on the car and get to work with them straightaway to see an improvement in performance.
Pastor Maldonado: I think that Silverstone is an amazing track. It has a great history, it’s fast and the new part of the circuit is a good addition. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in GP2. My favourite corner is Becketts as it is really quick through there. We’ll be working hard to improve the car for this race and once again aim to fight for points.
From Cosworth’s perspective: For Cosworth, the British Grand Prix represents an important fixture on the Formula One calendar. Cosworth is one of the larger employers in the region with its Northampton facility – a landmark on the St. James Mill Road for over 45 years, the birthplace for all of Cosworth’s Formula One engines.
Last year’s event was the first race around the all-new Silverstone track with its lengthened 5.891km layout. The addition of almost 0.8km of track did not greatly alter the demands that Silverstone places on the engine with around 70% of the lap spent at full throttle and a moderately high average speed.
The Williams-Cosworth partnership delivered a double points-scoring finish in 2010 with Rubens Barrichello finishing in fifth place, one of the highlights of the season.
From Pirelli’s perspective: Silverstone takes us back to a circuit with some real high-speed corners, which is something we’ve not seen for a few races now, and these really test the car and the tyres. There’s also been some resurfacing work carried out on the circuit recently so it will be interesting to see the effect of that as well. Being a home event for Williams, and also a home event for Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembrey, it’s obviously a race that we are really looking forward to.