Following on from Kimi Räikkönen’s second place in Valencia, Lotus F1 heads to Silverstone for its home grand prix.
Britain has a proud history in Formula One. The country has produced ten world champions and over 200 race wins, and the majority of competing teams have been born right here in Blighty. The Lotus F1 factory in Enstone is just half an hour from Silverstone.
The Northamptonshire circuit was, of course, the venue for the first world championship race in 1950. In recent years the layout has changed a bit, with a new middle sector designed to get the most out of bike racing, and a new pit complex which is technically in neighboring Buckinghamshire.
Overall, this is a power circuit and the drivers love its sweeping high-speed turns. It demands commitment and a good set-up, because aerodynamic efficiency is the name of the game here. Due to its flat nature, as befits a former RAF airfield, crosswinds are a problem and can threaten the balance of the cars.
Local start time: 13h00
Number of laps: 60
Circuit length: 5.141km
Race distance: 308.355km
Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari, 2004), 1m18.739
WHAT THE DRIVERS SAY:
Kimi Räikkönen: “If you asked me before the start of the season whether I would be happy with podiums I would have said yes, but now I’ve had some good results, I want more. In the last few races the results haven’t been as strong as I’ve wanted. We’ve finished well but I’m disappointed not to have a win yet. We just have to get everything together and I’m sure it can come. It’s always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. It’s a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career. I’ll enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. We’ve seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good! The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. It’s part of the fun racing in England; at least it’s the same for everybody. When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. I’m sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.”
Romain Grosjean: “I think we head to Silverstone with more confidence. We understand a few more things with the car. It was good to have a really hot weekend all the way through at Valencia as we were able to work on the car and really analyse things. Silverstone is very high speed; I’m confident we’ll have strong pace and that should lead to a good race. I won at Silverstone in the GP2 Series last year, so I’m not too bad on the track! It’s the same for everybody. It’s challenging, but it has a good feel. It’s one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. What a feeling... It’s a special grand prix for our team as the factory is very close to the track. It will be nice to see them. They are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. I will be visiting them after the race and hopefully we can go there with some good silverware to show them.”
On his way to Silverstone Romain dropped by at the Lotus Headquarters in Hethel (images in gallery below).
You’re in GB, and that means two things: real ale and vindaloo. There are plenty of places offering both in the villages around Silverstone. In Brackley, where former F1 racer Karun Chandhok lives, the local curry house Khushboo serves up a ‘Karun Chandhok Special’ which is a lot more powerful than the HRT he used to drive. There are too many pubs to mention, but we suggest heading to the villages of Stoke Bruerne, Woughton-on-the-Green, Abthorpe, Brayfield-on-the-Green and Little Tingewic.