Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team driver, talks about the upcoming British Grand Prix.
The British Grand Prix marks your 50th grand prix. Growing up and racing karts, just getting to Formula One probably looked like a long road. Can you talk about the effort you had to put forth to get to this level?
“Fifty grands prix doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s gone quick. It’s not really something I think about, but it’s been a long ride and a quick ride at the same time. I hope to do many more. The effort was all worth it and I’m enjoying my time massively. Being able to do what I love is something I’m extremely grateful for.”
Does 50 Formula One starts give you a feeling that you’ve established yourself in the sport?
“I feel like I’m still learning a lot. I’m in my third season in Formula One, which isn’t many – a lot of other people are in their 10th season or more. I’m still in the early stages of my career.”
There is some chatter about a Formula One race in Denmark and, specifically, Copenhagen. What are your thoughts about potentially having a home grand prix?
“I mean, that would be awesome. I really hope it can be done. It’s pretty unexpected, but it would be awesome.”
Silverstone is one of the fastest tracks in Formula One, but it’s not necessarily from long straights but rather from long, flowing corners. Can you describe the feeling of speed you experience at this power circuit?
“Silverstone is definitely one of the good circuits. It’s really fast and you’ve got some big sections with fast change of directions. I really enjoy driving the circuit.”
Knowing how fast these current-generation cars are, what are your expectations in terms of how the car will feel at Silverstone, particularly through the Maggots, Becketts and Chapel corners – an area of the track where you really feel the g-forces being exerted on your body?
“I’m just looking forward to having a go. These cars are going to be much faster in those corners than the previous cars. I’m looking forward to it massively.”
With speed playing such a role at Silverstone, how difficult is it to overtake? And if the opportunity presents itself, where can you overtake?
“It will be quite difficult to overtake at Silverstone, perhaps more difficult than previous years. Probably in the DRS zone and perhaps down Hangar Straight, it will be possible. Qualifying is going to be very important.”
Your teammate mentioned that the difference at Silverstone comes down to the opportunity between having a well-balanced car and an unbalanced car. What do you need at Silverstone to have the proper balance in your racecar?
“You need good high-speed balance as most of the corners are high speed.”
How much downforce do you want at Silverstone? As much as you can get, or do you want to be able to slide the car a bit and have a little less drag?
“You definitely want as much as you can.”
At most circuits, pole position is critical. But for some reason, not as much at Silverstone, where the pole winner has only gone on to win five times in the last 19 years. Is this happenstance or is there something about the track’s layout that provides more opportunity for those a little deeper on the starting grid?
“I think it’s just by chance.”
Do you have any milestones or moments from your junior career that you enjoyed at Silverstone?
“I’ve won many times there, so it’s a place with good memories for me.”
What is your favorite part of Silverstone?
“Maggots and Becketts because they’re the high-speed turns.”
Describe a lap around Silverstone.
“Usually windy, bumpy and wet.”
• Total number of race laps: 52
• Complete race distance: 306.198 kilometers (190.263 miles)
• Pit lane speed limit: 80 kph (50 mph)
• This 5.891-kilometer (3.660-mile), 18-turn circuit has hosted Formula One since 1950, with last year’s British Grand Prix serving as the venue’s milestone 50th grand prix.
• Mark Webber holds the race lap record at Silverstone (1:33.401), set in 2013 with Red Bull.
• Lewis Hamilton holds the qualifying lap record at Silverstone (1:29.243), set in 2016 with Mercedes during Q2.
• With an average speed of around 225 kph (140 mph), Silverstone is considered a power circuit and one of Formula One’s fastest tracks. The majority of its layout is comprised of medium- and high-speed corners, allowing drivers to run at full throttle for 65 percent of their lap. Teams run medium to high levels of downforce to better assist with the impressive cornering speeds. These downforce levels are achievable because the circuit has relatively few long straights. Its sweeping corners provide overtaking opportunities, albeit tricky ones due to the speeds drivers can achieve.
DYK, Part I? The iconic gold trophy awarded to the winner of the British Grand Prix is the RAC Cup, and it is the oldest prize awarded in Formula One. Unlike other trophies, the winner doesn’t get to keep it. It’s returned soon after the podium celebrations.
DYK, Part II? There are 18 turns at Silverstone, and each has its own name and backstory.
◦ Abbey (turn one): This flat-out first turn was named after the ancient Luffield Abbey, the remains of which were found near the corner. The abbey was founded prior to 1133 and suppressed by King Henry VI in 1493.
◦ Farm (turn two): This is a lazy left hander and the point where cars enter back onto the track from the pits. The origins of its name are simple – the straight used to pass close to a nearby farm.
◦ Village (turn three): One of the new corners introduced in 2010 following Silverstone’s redevelopment, this right hander is named after Silverstone Village, which lies to the north of the circuit.
◦ The Loop (turn four): This is the only corner at Silverstone named for its shape, and drivers navigate it at 90 kph (56 mph), making it the slowest corner on this high-speed track.
◦ Aintree (turn five): Famous for hosting the Grand National horse race, Aintree also staged the British Grand Prix in the 1950s and early 1960s and, in tribute, the left hander leading onto the Wellington Straight now bears the venue’s name.
◦ Wellington Straight: Formally known as the National Straight, the run down to Brooklands was renamed in 2010 when it became part of Silverstone’s new grand prix layout. The Wellington Straight takes its name from the Wellington bombers that were based at the Northamptonshire circuit during World War II. Fittingly, the straight is formed from one of the old runways.
◦ Brooklands (turn six): In the days of pre-war motor racing, Brooklands was Britain’s No. 1 venue. It makes sense that one of the corners at the modern-day home of British motorsport is named in the old track’s honor.
◦ Luffield (turn seven): Like Abbey, the long right hander was named after Luffield Chapel. Introduced to Silverstone’s grand prix layout ahead of the 1991 race, Luffield was originally two distinct corners, known as Luffield 1 and Luffield 2.
◦ Woodcote (turn eight): The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) was responsible for organizing the first major races at Silverstone. As such, the group had major influence in naming many of the track’s original corners. Woodcote, the sweeping right hander which used to end the lap, is named after Woodcote Park, an RAC-owned club in Surrey.
◦ Copse (turn nine): Silverstone is surrounded by luscious green fields and small pockets of dense woodland, knowns as copses. The quick Copse corner, which was the circuit’s first turn for nearly 60 years, passes especially close to Chapel Copse and Cheese Copse, hence its name.
◦ Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel (turns 10-14): Approached at around 300 kph (186 mph), Silverstone’s fastest and most iconic sequence of corners was three distinct bends until 1991. Today, they are interlinked. The opening section, Maggotts, was named for nearby Maggot Moor. Becketts and Chapel Curve, meanwhile, take their names from the medieval chapel of St. Thomas à Beckett, which was built in memory of the murdered Archbishop of Canterbury and once stood near the corners. The chapel buildings were demolished in 1943 to make way for Silverstone airfield.
◦ Hangar Straight: Silverstone’s use as a Royal Air Force base meant that it was once home to several large hangars. Two of the largest stood next to what became the circuit’s backstraight, which today is tackled at 325 kph (202 mph)
◦ Stowe (turn 15): Situated at the end of Hangar Straight, the rapid right hander has always been a challenge for drivers despite several changes over the years. Like so many other corners at Silverstone, it takes its name from a nearby landmark, Stowe School, which lies just south of the circuit.
◦ Vale (turn 16): Built on an airfield, Silverstone is more or less flat, which is why the most undulating piece of track, found between Stowe and Club, was named Vale, which is another word for valley. However, some say the name is simply a reflection of the fact this portion of the track sits within the district of Aylesbury Vale.
◦ Club (turns 17-18): Club is the track’s final corner. Like Woodcote, Club was named in honor of the RAC’s famous clubhouse in Pall Mall, London.
During the course of this weekend’s British Grand Prix, lows will range from 12-13 degrees Celsius (54-56 degrees Fahrenheit) to highs of 20-22 degrees Celsius (68-72 degrees Fahrenheit). Relative humidity ranges from 52 percent (mildly humid) to 95 percent (very humid), with a dew point varying from 9 degrees Celsius/49 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) to 15 degrees Celsius/59 degrees Fahrenheit (comfortable). The dew point is rarely below 7 degrees Celsius/45 degrees Fahrenheit (dry) or above 17 degrees Celsius/63 degrees Fahrenheit (mildly humid). Typical wind speeds vary from 2-21 kph/1-13 mph (light air to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 27 kph/17 mph (moderate breeze).