Haas F1 Team Powers Into British Grand Prix
It is fitting that a track with silver in its name allows drivers to be pedal to the metal for long periods of time.
Silverstone Circuit, a 5.891- kilometer (3.660-mile), 18-turn track that is roughly a two-hour drive from London, is the host of Sunday’s British Grand Prix. It is the third longest circuit in the FIA Formula One World Championship, behind only Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (7.004 kilometers, 4.352 miles) and Baku City Circuit (6.003 kilometers, 3.730 miles).
The majority of Silverstone’s layout is comprised of medium- and high-speed corners, allowing drivers to run at full throttle for 65 percent of their lap. This provides an average speed of around 225 kph (140 mph), making the track a true power circuit and one of Formula One’s fastest venues. It is excellent timing then, that Haas F1 Team gets the latest Ferrari engine package, combining greater efficiency with increased performance.
Teams run medium to high levels of downforce in their race cars to better assist with the impressive cornering speeds achieved at Silverstone. These downforce levels are obtained because the circuit has relatively few long straights. Its sweeping corners provide overtaking opportunities, albeit tricky ones because of the speeds drivers are carrying.
With the amount of downforce pushing these cars onto the racetrack, tires endure forces from all directions. It’s why Formule One tire supplier Pirelli has brought the hardest compounds in its lineup, beginning with the P Zero Orange hard and then transitioning to the P Zero White medium before finishing with the P Zero Yellow soft. It’s only the second time this season Pirelli has chosen this lineup, the first being for the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.
Grip remains the utmost need for drivers, which is why Haas F1 Team pilots Romain Grosjean and Esteban Gutiérrez have each selected seven sets of Yellow softs from their respective, 13-set allotment. But they differ in their remaining selections. Grosjean opted for two sets of Orange hards and four sets of White mediums, while Gutiérrez took only one set of Orange hards and five sets of White mediums.
It is likely Sunday’s 52-lap race will force teams into a two-stop pit strategy as Silverstone offers high levels of grip, which combined with the high downforce levels, works the surface of the tire even harder. And, of course, the softer the tire, the quicker it wears.
It is also likely the British Grand Prix will be affected by weather, ping-ponging between bright sunshine and heavy rain or cool, breezy weather and hot, muggy conditions. Perhaps it is this variable that accounts for the pole winner of the British Grand Prix having gone on to win only four times in the last 18 years.
While Sunday will mark the 67th British Grand Prix, it will be the 50th British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Silverstone is home to the first British Grand Prix of the modern era, where in 1950 Nino Farina took the checkered flag ahead of fellow Italian Luigi Fagioli. It remained the host venue through 1954 before it began sharing the event with Aintree Circuit in Liverpool from 1955 to 1962 and Brands Hatch in Longfield from 1963 to 1986. But since 1987, Silverstone has been the home of the British Grand Prix.
And home is what Silverstone represents to many Formula One teams, for it is in England’s motorsports valley where eight Formula One teams have a base within an hour-and-a-half drive from the circuit, including Haas F1 Team. Its European logistics center is in Banbury, only 30 minutes west of Silverstone.
Fresh off its fourth point-scoring finish last week in the Austrian Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team is honed in on another point-scoring run at Britain’s home track.