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Silverstone Requires Extreme Skills

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Posted on July 6, 2023 Tags:

Daniel’s Test Looms Large

The Remarkable Shane van Gisbergen

SILVERSTONE, host of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, is up there with the most popular races with Formula One drivers. And the track, traditionally, is one of the hardest on tyres in the series.

So, it was no great surprise to hear a marked increase in performance of F1 cars this season has convinced Pirelli to unleash a new slick tyre construction at the 5.891km circuit, bringing forward the release from their anticipated introduction next year.

Pirelli says that increased performance of the cars in 2023 – both in terms of outright speed and loadings – was compared to the pre-season simulation data supplied to Pirelli by the teams last winter.

This is a trend set only to increase as the championship goes on.

“We’ve worked very hard on simulation over the last few years to supply a product that meets the performance targets set by all the stakeholders and to have the ability to anticipate any eventual issues and react to them promptly,” said Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director.

“The new specification gives the tyre extra resistance against fatigue without affecting its technical parameters or its behaviour on track.  It also allows us to keep front and rear tyre pressures largely unchanged compared to last year, despite a significant increase in average loads.”

And, it’s worth remembering that Red Bull has not won the British GP since Mark Webber’s win in 2012.

If Max Verstappen can continue his blistering run this weekend, Red Bull can equal McLaren’s long-standing record for consecutive wins!

New Tyre Construction

All teams had the opportunity to try the new tyre construction out at the Spanish Grand Prix, with two sets at the disposal of each driver in free practice.

Their comments were in line with Pirelli’s expectations, especially when it came to transparency in terms of performance.

The tyre behemoth’s internal charts show the British circuit right at the top in terms of stress and lateral forces exerted on them – especially the front-left tyre that has to cope with heavy loadings throughout eight different corners at Silverstone.

The track also takes a lot out of the drivers, who must cope with lateral accelerations more than 5g throughout its rapid corners.

Compound Choices for Silverstone

Silverstone features some of the highest average cornering speeds of the year, with Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel all taken flat-out, while drivers are subjected to extreme lateral forces.

The compound choices for Silverstone – which, unlike the structure, are not undergoing any change in specification – are identical to previous years, at least in name: C1 white hard, C2 yellow medium, and C3 red soft. 

However, the current C1 is in fact a brand-new compound for this year, which fits in between the C2 and the C0: Pirelli’s new name for the hardest compound in the 2022 range.

Red Bull have not won the British GP since Mark Webber’s win in 2012; Red Bull can equal McLaren’s long-standing record for consecutive wins this weekend; watch every session from the British GP live on Sky Sports F1 and for free on Sky Showcase this weekend

One of the more hair-raising parts of the circuit, Maggotts is named after the nearby Maggot Moor – although it is not clear why the spellings differ.

•            Along with Spa in Belgium, Silverstone is the most energy-demanding circuit of the year.

•             A two-stopper was generally the most popular strategy in 2022. All three compounds were seen during the race: including on the starting grid.

             Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz claimed his debut win last year at Silverstone, having started from pole position.

•             In 2020, the British Grand Prix was followed one weekend later by another grand prix to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the very first F1 race in history – which took place at Silverstone on May 13, 1950.

•             The most successful team at Silverstone is Ferrari, with 15 wins, while Sir Lewis Hamilton is the most decorated driver at the circuit with eight wins.  

After Monza, Silverstone is among the most historic permanent tracks on the F1 calendar, having hosted 57 grands prix.

Silverstone, England

And naturally a key factor could be the British weather, which is notoriously variable at this time of year. Although, after a bonny start, the weather gods could be spicing tings up for Sunday!

Daniel’s Major Test Looms Larger

All eyes will be on Aussie Daniel Ricciardo at Silverstone after the grand prix as he gets behind the wheel of the powerful Oracle Red Bull for a one torrid day of testing Pirellis.

It’s a particularly special period of testing – a slick tyre development try-out, without tyre blankets. Pirelli received a mandate from the FIA to develop a product that would dispense with tyre warmers, or electric blankets.

It’s all part of F1’s plan to reduce its energy bill in compliance with its target to become net-zero carbon by 2030.

Also taking part during the three days following Silverstone are Haas and Williams. And the three days will be closely monitored by every other team in the Paddock.

Teams unlikely to support ban

This evidently is the final test managed by Pirelli after which, if the FIA is satisfied with the product developed by F1’s tyre supplier based on its technical report, the ban could be implemented from the 2024 season.

Although it’s not something F1 teams are likely to support. And such a plan is afoot for a vote in coming weeks.

Several drivers have expressed their fear that powering out of the pitlane on cold tyres during a race would be a recipe for disaster.

So, given the amount of instruction that will be flying back and forth across the airwaves during Daniel’s challenge, this is going to be no easy feat!

So, spare a thought for the 33-year-old Duncraig superstar as he takes to Silverstone for just one day – a very different day.

He has a specific task to master for Pirelli. At the same time he’ll be keen to convince his Red Bull masters, and himself, he still has that innate ability to master the RB19 – under the most difficult of circumstances.

And continue to follow his dream.

Track Limits cause havoc

During last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, F1 Race Control had the extraordinary task of reviewing more than 1200 instances where a car was reported as potentially leaving the track.

Under F1’s regulations, drivers receive a warning after exceeding track limits three times during the race, followed by a penalty for the fourth transgression.

Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant, Yuki Tsunoda, Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen all received in-race or post-race five-second penalties for track limits violations.

Three hours after the end of the race, the FIA said it was still analysing over 1200 possible infringements, reporting “an unprecedented situation arose which resulted in all potential infringements not being able to be reviewed during the race.”

The post-race review by the stewards saw Carlos Sainz handed a 10-second time penalty for track limit violations, promoting Lando Norris to P4, capping off the Briton and McLaren’s encouraging weekend with their batch of upgrades.

Sainz was far from the only driver to find themselves penalised following a post-race protest lodged by Aston Martin.

Logan Sargeant, Nyck de Vries and Yuki Tsunoda all receive additional five-second penalties, while De Vries again, plus Lewis Hamilton, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly were all handed 10-second time penalties post-race.

Esteban Ocon, meanwhile, was retrospectively handed a pair of five-second penalties and a pair of 10-second penalties.

That left the order behind Norris in P4 as Fernando Alonso in fifth, with Sainz sixth, followed by the Mercedes pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in seventh and eighth.

But Max Conquers All

Lance Stroll was promoted a place from the provisional classification to claim ninth, ahead of Gasly in 10th – and last in the points – and Albon in 11th.

The penalties promoted Zhou Guanyu to 12th (up from 14th at the flag), ahead of Sargeant, Ocon, and Valtteri Bottas in P15.

Oscar Piastri, De Vries, Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the order.

The FIA renewed its recommendation to the circuit to add a gravel trap at the exit of turns 9 and 10 – proven effective at other corners and circuits with similar issues. The governing body noted it was not a straightforward solution for other series that race at the track, particularly bikes.

Max Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix by 5.155s from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez third.

Sergio delivered a fine recovery from 15th on the grid to end a difficult run and take his first podium since the Miami Grand Prix four races ago, overhauling Carlos Sainz in the closing stages and making the most of the Ferrari driver’s time penalty for track limits.

All in all, it was a bit of a debacle. To put it mildly!

Jack has it all on the line

Formula 2

Prema Racing’s Fredrik Vesti remains at the helm of FIA F2 after Austria, sitting on 125 points, ahead of ARTS’ Theo Pourchaire 105, and Japan’s Ayumu Iwasaka 101.

Aussie Jack Doohan piloted his #14 Invicta Virtuosi Racing beast into 4th around the Red Bull Ring to boost his points to 54, and ninth in the F2 standings.

Jack, the Alpine F1 Team Reserve Driver, heads into Silverstone – Round 9 of 14 – this weekend fully aware his F1 future is looking grim.

Pirelli bring its P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft compounds to Britain. 

Formula 2

P Zero White hard is the chosen compound for the race weekend in England. Ultra-rapid and high-energy corners like the Maggotts and Becketts complex aren’t the only challenge that Silverstone offers F3 drivers.

Trident’s Gabriel Bortoletto leads the series, well ahead of Josep Maria Marti and Dino Beganovic. The British circuit is one of the most demanding on the calendar and requires the hardest Pirelli compound, with drivers needing to focus on the thermal management of the tyres. 

Kiwi Into NASCAR Record Books!

SVG – A Remarkable Feat. Image courtesy

Despite the shenanigans over in Europe, Kiwi Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen elevated himself to legendary status on both sides of the Pacific with a mind-blowing NASCAR win on debut around the streets of Chicago early Monday.

Veteran American driver Denny Hamlin, who started in pole position but finished 11th in Chicago, told a huge American audience he was “in awe” of van Gisbergen.

But what launched the Kiwi’s cred was when it dawned that van Gisbergen was sitting on the opposite side of the car to his usual position in Australia.

“I’ve probably seen, I don’t know, 50 total laps of Supercars racing, but most of the highlights are around this guy and how good he is,” Hamlin said.

“The cars are not the same, but they are similar enough. I’m thinking about this on the fly, right … they said he was shifting with the opposite hand and so that to me blows my mind.

“I guess I could do it, but I probably wouldn‘t be very efficient shifting with the other hand.”

Major Changes for Rally

Following the recent review into Targa style tarmac rallying, Motorsport Australia has confirmed a new licence structure and requirements for those with a National Rally Licence and competitors wishing to compete in tarmac events.

All 94 Targa Review Panel recommendations can be viewed here.


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