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F1 2013: British GP Preview – Silverstone: The Heart of Motorsport

2010 British Grand Prix Start

On this same Silverstone circuit legends such as Senna, Fangio, Stewart and Clark unleashed their virtuoso talents. The circuit, the ground, the grandstands, everything here is drenched in motorsport history and is considered one of the most unique racing venues in the world. The memories will linger forever but the times and the talents have changed as F1 heads into the eighth round of the 2013 season.

There wasn’t much wrong with the ‘old’ Silverstone layout, in fact, it was pretty darn special. The magnificent Copse corner, the breathtaking Maggots and Becketts section, ultra quick Stowe corner is enough to make any race fan nostalgic. Nevertheless, an upgrade in time for the 2010 grand prix vaulted the circuit into the 21st Century and what is considered the modern Formula 1 era. But it wasn’t some wishy washy attempt. The major overhaul of the paddock area was slick and eye-catchingly impressive and the changes to the layout, importantly, retained the essence of what makes this place great.

It wouldn’t be Silverstone if the perennially unpredictable weather wasn’t a topic of conversation. The British weather is sure to have its say at some stage during the weekend and the forecast predicts showers for Friday with low temperatures present throughout the weekend.

Sebastian VettelThree weeks have elapsed since the Canadian GP but F1 is after all the sport that never sleeps. Sebastian Vettel has entrenched himself deeper into the Red Bull Racing family by extending his contract to the end of the 2015 season. Talks about who will partner the German continue as Mark Webber is yet to announce his plans for 2014.

Mercedes escaped the International tribunal in France with a mere slap on the wrist. The Brackley based team was called to the tribunal in Paris on the 20th of June to explain a secret 1000 kilometer tyre test they had completed after the Spanish GP. Despite being found to be in breach of the sporting regulations Mercedes’ only penalty was a ban from the young driver’s test slated for mid-July. It seems tad light considering the possible advantage that they could’ve gained. Ironically, the two races following the Spanish GP, both street tracks, wouldn’t have given any indication if Mercedes’ had gleaned a genuine advantage from the test. Silverstone is a return to a ‘proper’ high-speed F1 circuit and should be a better gauge.

Kimi_Raikkonen_2013_Catalonia_test_(19-22_Feb)_Day_2-1With any luck it will also be a return to proper racing instead of days spent in front of tribunals and waiting for verdicts. Patience is what Kimi Raikkonen has called for in his pursuit of the driver’s crown. The Finn has conceded a hefty forty points to Sebastian Vettel but believes that the title is still within reach. In pursuit of his quest Lotus is planning its biggest upgrade package of the year at this weekend’s race. Lotus’ track operations director, Alan Permane, laid out the parts that will be fitted to the car. “We have a tighter, figure-hugging bodywork package which should give some benefit; especially if the weather is quite cool at Silverstone. There’s a new front wing, suspension profiles and suspension upgrades in addition to various other aero upgrades, which combine to give us what should be our biggest step forward of the year.”

There are a few others drivers who will have the same desire for the top step of the podium. Mark Webber has been more than handy around Silverstone in the past and needs a good performance to bolster his lacklustre season. By having won the race on two previous occasions and the very fact that he is Fernando Alonso the Ferrari driver will be a factor.

There aren’t many things better than a grand prix in the very heart of motorsport; besides the fact that twenty-two of the world’s best drivers will add 52 more laps of history to magnificent Silverstone.

 

About Natalie Le Clue

Natalie Le Clue is an F1 aficionado of the most dedicated vein. And, true to form for any F1-enamoured junkie, she readily admits to crying the first time she saw a F1 car, calling it an ‘overwhelming moment’. Natalie has won the 2010 gSport Woman In Media award, the 2015 Woman In Media Print award, and has been named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in South African Sport by the Department of Sport and Recreation. Natalie is currently serving as SAfm's F1 correspondent. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nlc27

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