Was new Silverstone a success? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pedro de la Rosa, Adrian Sutil, Silverstone 2010

You take great risks when you tamper with a masterpiece – but that’s just what the British Grand Prix organisers had to do at Silverstone ahead of this year’s race.

The changes added a fast new corner to the track at Abbey and the new section of track was the scene of some exciting racing on Sunday. What did you think of the changes to Silverstone?

For

Abbey has been restored to its former glory. Once a flat-out kink, it was turned into a slow chicane following the tragedies of 1994. It’s now a high-speed flick right and left with a tricky bump which caught out several drivers during practice.

The circuit owners have successful incorporated one of the fastest new corners seen in F1 in years without compromising safety. Ample room for run-off allowed Sebastian Vettel to avoid what could have been a nasty accident when his front wing failed in Saturday practice.

The revised corners also appeared to increase the potential for overtaking. We saw passing moves at Village, The Loop and Brooklands during the race.

Against

The new section of track has bypassed Bridge and Priory, two popular corners.

And the addition of two slow corners has, in the eyes of some drivers, disrupted the flow of the high-speed track.

Bumps on several parts of the track have also come in for criticism.

I say

On the whole I think the changes are an improvement.

Several people are sad to see the loss of Bridge. I can understand that but, having watched a Grand Prix there a few years ago, I think what we have now is better. Since Abbey was slowed in 1994 Bridge had become little more than an acceleration zone that only really tested the drivers in the wet.

Abbey and Farm are two great corners – the best new stretch of tarmac laid for F1 since turn eight at Istanbul five years ago. Not just because it’s so quick, but because of that controversial bump.

Several drivers complained about Silverstone’s bumps and yesterday Williams’ Sam Michael said they “need to be addressed for 2011”.

F1 drivers are unusually sensitive about bumps. When David Coulthard raced at the Lausitzring in the DTM for the first time earlier this year he complained to the other drivers about how bad the bumps were. They laughed at him – the Lausitzring is the smoothest track they visit.

If you want to see what a bumpy circuit really looks like, watch these onboard laps of the Sao Paulo street course Indy Car visited earlier this year and wince.

There is a mindset in F1 that anything that gets in the way of setting up the cars to go as quickly as they can must be eradicated. Bumps are a frequent target because when they are removed, engineers can reduce ride heights, lap times fall and everyone in the pit lane feels like they’ve just made their cars faster.

(Indeed, some of the criticism can be explained away by it coming from the drivers of cars that performed particularly badly over the bumps.)

Bumps, ripples and undulations can turn good corners into great ones. During the race we saw mistakes by Adrian Sutil and Michael Schumacher over the Abbey bump create passing opportunities for Sebastian Vettel and Nico H???lkenberg.

No, we should not ignore concerns about safety or driver discomfort. But Abbey has a vast amount of run-off for drivers to bring cars under control. The bumps are part of the challenge and not only should they stay, they’re part of what makes Silverstone a cut above other tracks.

You say

What do you think of the revised Silverstone? How does it compare to other tracks on the calendar since the changes?

Vote below and have your say in the comments.

What do you think of the new Silverstone?

  • Much better than the previous track (28%)
  • Slightly better than the previous track (52%)
  • No better or worse than the previous track (14%)
  • Slightly worse than the previous track (4%)
  • Much worse than the previous track (2%)

Total Voters: 1,956

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87 comments on “Was new Silverstone a success? (Poll)”

  1. A real missed opportunity for British F1 fans. We could have had a race at the far superior Donington Park but certain people and organisations ensured that this will not happen.

    1. Yeah an F1 race at Donington would’ve been super cool. But Donington’s boat has sailed

    2. I read somewhere that there were 85k people at Silverstone on Friday! Thats more than some circuits have on a Sunday.

      I say there should be more than one GP in the UK…

      1. I was really hoping to go to Donnington too so it’s a shame it didn’t work out. I don’t think Brit should get two races yet, Donnington was a fiasco afterall.

        1. I went to the F2 there last year. The view from inside the old hairpin is amazing, you can see a good half of the circuit. The developments would of eaten into that viewing area I believe to maybe the fail wasn’t so bad after all.

          Mind looking at the numbers I think we could afford to become the host of the euro gp

  2. Abbey is for sure an improvement (the chicane built in 94 was very ugly).
    But the 2 hairpins they added are boring: they should have built a fast left-hander instead (there was room to do that).

    Moreover, we still have to deal with Club corner, which definitely is a boring corner. I wish they used the quick layout (which exists, as we can see on tv) there instead of the 2nd gear chicane at the entrance. That corner could be as great as Stowe…

    1. they should have built a fast left-hander instead (there was room to do that).

      I doubt there would have been enough room for more run-off at Brooklands though.

      1. I’m not so bothered about the sow corners or Club, which I belive has been made faster. The Loop still botheres me though? Why a chicane? Surley a Hairpin if overtakings what is trying to be acheived, Aintree hairpin, add that final missing element to this track.

        Still the Loop saw some pretty awesome racing so maybe i’m wrong.

      2. I think they could have started Brooklands sooner (in the old Bridge Gravel trap), but that would have meant the old circuit was scrapped and I presume that they will still use it for other racing series?

    2. You can’t have a circuit or calendar that consists entirely of fast corners. It just doesn’t make sense – unless you’ve got a considrably faster car, you’re not going to overtake anyone in a straight line. Perhaps Vale and Club will be better-suited as the final corners as of next year.

  3. Although Bridge was a great corner, the old Abbey chicane hardly qualifies as a loss. If there was one corner at Silverstone that stood out as being completely un-Silverstone, it was that damned chicane. And while Village and the Loop may be slow, we got the new Abbey, Farm and Aintree, as well as the great run down into Brooklands. I think it was worth making the changes.

  4. ‘The revised corners also appeared to increase the potential for overtaking. We saw passing moves at Village, The Loop and Brooklands during the race.’

    that’s all i need.

    1. Mmmmh, except:

      The Loop is a truly rubbish name, “The Loop” least silverstone name ever, build a bridge over it, call it bridge or something, why The Loop?

      1. I think one of the corners on The Loop is called Aintree, actually. That’s more like it!

        1. Yes, Aintree is good, I think Aintree is that kink before the Wellignton straight, right after, hackcough the Loop.

          Maybe if they’d just called it loop. Any corner prefixed with a the, has been named by an man who reads to many comics. Especially as that corner is so slow.

          1. Hey, at least it has a name. Most of the new circuits have corners that are just known by sterile numbers. Even when they are named – like Marina Bay’s Sheares, Memorial and Singapore Sling – they generally get referred to by number (in the case of Marina Bay, that’s 1, 7 and 10 respectively)

          2. maybe we can call it Aintree loop?

      2. F1F campaign to rename it as “Mansell Loop”?

        1. Tom M in Australia
          14th July 2010, 23:32

          Where do I sign?

    2. My favourite thing about the revised layout is the new approach to Brooklands. Having the cars using Wellington Straight on the approach to Brooklands helps promote overtaking, which is good.

      And although not new, and I really hate it when trying to negotiate it in Forza, I really liked watching the drivers struggle through Luffield. During qualifying nearly every driver took a different line through Luffield, no one really seeming sure what the fastest way through was.

  5. Drivers thought Bridge was good but disliked the slow crawl around the complex which upset their rythm. The new fast entry into Brooklands provided a good overtaking opportunity in the Grand Prix but many more overtakes in the supporting races, all executed neatly by the coming generation.

    The new circuit is needed for MotoGP because Bridge is unsafe for the bikes. This matters to us who follow F1 if we do not want Silverstone to be entirely at the mercy of Bernie’s whims.

    Silverstone is unique in that it is a fulltime racing circuit at the heart of world motor racing. That is why young drivers from all over the world learn their trade there. This does not downrate the contribution of Ferrari and Peter Sauber to racing in anyway in any way and I have no connection with the circuit.

    Even Bernie would be a prosperous retired metal merchant that no-one has ever heard of without the influence of Silverstone and the surrounding area he would have had nothing to sell.

    1. Sorry, but I think you put way too much emphasis on the importance of Silverstone – at the very least, it is offset by the likes of Monza and Indianapolis. It’s important, but it is not the sole reason for motorsport’s success.

      1. But importance in what sense PM? In terms of historic importance, then yes, Monza and Indy probably displaces a lot of Silverstone (even though it was the first track raced on by F1 cars).

        But in terms of the importance to motorsport, Silverstone is vastly significant. England is one of the beating hearts of global motorsport – the technology that goes into so many racing cars was spawned in and around Silverstone. On top of that, it is one of the circuits that junior racers come from all over the world to learn their trade.

        Yes, the motorsporting world would go on without it, but I think you put way to much emphasis on the importance of Monza and Indy.

        1. I get the impression CJD believes Silverstone to be the single most important motorsport site in the world, the point which all motorsport revolves around. It’s not. True, it is important, but it is not the centre of the universe.

          1. One of the more important. Even Ferrari has had to import expertise from that “silicon valley” er silverstone plateau.
            There is an international motor racing workforce in that area contributing to all areas of motor sport now but way back it all started with Ford 1172 or JAP or that “fire pump engine wot wins races” in almost home made chassis as people strove to make chassis good enough to overcome superb Italian engineering in the engine and gearbox department.

    2. I keep hearing about Bridge being unsafe for bikes but what is it exactly that makes it unsafe? If it’s the bridge then they hardly made it better by having one over the Wellington Straight (I had a horrifying thought of what if Webber had flipped there!). Is it the dip downwards?, no runoff?

      1. It’s not the actual, physical bridge – it’s the proximity of the outer barrier to the circuit. There’s virtually no run-off going through Bridge, and so if a rider wiped out there, there would be little to stop him impacting with the armco, and that’s a bad thing. And it wasn’t exactly a problem that could be solved by moving the armco further backwards, because there’s a kind of a spur of earth running outwards, and if a car or bike hit it, they’d be launched into the air.

    3. Jose Arellano
      13th July 2010, 23:53

      “..nut many more overtakes in the supporting races, all executed neatly by the coming generation…”

      you mean checo perez move top take the lead in gp2 right??

      viva mexicoo!

  6. Christian Biddon
    13th July 2010, 10:51

    I loved the new track. So much so that as soon as qualifying was over my wife and I bought tickets for 2011 in the new pit straight grandstand. :-)

    How about that for advanced planning. :-)

  7. New Abbey is great. I’m bothered about the following: the first corner after the fast S is not bad, but the following hairpin could have been quicker. New Brooklands is wonderful, instead.

    A last word about Club: why did they modify it? It’s much much worse now.

    At the end I think it is an improvement, anyway.

    1. Is Club really that much worse? I struggled to tell the difference. Am glad they stopped people cutting the exit kerb which looked like being a problem when I went to watch the GT1 race.

      1. They still take exactly the same line through the reprofiled Club as the old Club so in essence it’s exactly the same.

        1. Mark Webber said that although they had re profiled it, the actual line through the corner was exactly the same.

      2. Did they? It looked like they kept going way off.

  8. What I like about the addition is that it tries to retain as much as possible of what is already there (Uses a bit of the national layout). You have to be clever when you try and shoehorn a new section onto what is arguably a brilliant track and it has been pulled off brilliantly.

    Saying that though… it’s a shame Bridge is no longer used. Would have been nice to have seen them go straight on from Bridge and then right into Luffield/Woodcote. Would have been incredibly fast but there wouldn’t be enough run off.

    1. They went straight from Abbey to Woodcote for 50 odd years. Safety got in the way

  9. I liked it, the new section really does balance out the circuit. Next year it will be changed again with the new pit complex, thank goodness we have those good old corner names and not numbers…

  10. I think they should replace the incredibly boring Monaco GP with Sao Paulo Street Crcuit. Looks fantastic.

    1. Blaspheme!
      :-)

  11. Was a slight improvement on a dreary track. Still don’t like Silverstone. Pity we’re stuck with it for another 16 years.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      13th July 2010, 21:48

      I agree Karol. Only been to Silverstone twice, but was disappointed at the lack of visibility on both ocassions.
      Still, I voted ‘Much better’ on the basis that a set of stepping stones across a bog is a great improvement, even though it’s still a bog.

  12. I’ve said slightly better. I’ve only ever liked the first sector so I’m glad they left that well alone.

    I think it’s helped overtaking. I like that it does seem to really challenge the drivers esp the bump. They better keep that bump too. Abbey is great so it’s worth losing Bridge which wasn’t really a challenge anymore. I’ve said slight improvement because I like to be cautious and we’ve only had one race on it. I think the most important thing is that they’ve kept with the style and character of the track while made it a challenge.

    1. Once again, Steph’s opinion mirrors my own pretty much exactly.

      1. Thank you Magnificent Geoffrey :)

        I agree with you too Siv. I know the bump was probably a surprise with the cars and the drivers backs may have hurt after but I really liked the challenge it presented. Please Silverstone, keep that bump!

    2. I agree that they should keep the bump. The only reason they are fussing about it is because they didn’t know it was there and were caught out. All their simulation work was wasted because they didn’t know about the bump.

      Practically all circuits have bumps but since the teams know about them, they set the car up to cope. They didn’t know about this one but that no reason to remove it!

    3. Fully agree with you there Steph.

      Abbey is a great corner, the bump making it a real challenge. And the Aintree loop after that gives some new opportunities for overtaking.

      The circuit keeps its style and works. I am curious to see how it works out after they move the pit complex though.

  13. I’m happy with the end result of the silverstone circuit.

  14. It’s also worth mentioning that although drivers and teams complain about bumps, they’re quite happy to smash over massive kerbs just to find another 10th of a second.

    1. Very true indeed!

    2. Very good point, Pionir. I thought the drivers were complaining too much about the bumps. Surely it’s just another feature of the track, like the kerbs and the surface changes. Maybe drivers are getting too fussy. However if they all have to go to a chiropractor, I take it all back!

    3. Ha….haaa…VERY well said Pionir!The hit those kerbs so hard the cars come off the ground.

    4. Extremely good point!

  15. Thumbs up. More overtaking than I remember before, and many were impressive moves that went on for several corners.

    Bit concerned about the effect of moving the start next year. There’s always been some spectacular action on lap one through the fast stuff, and next year they’ll be that much more more strung out when they get round there. Abbey will make a great first turn though.

  16. I’m not to sure really. I like the new abbey but I miss bridge and I also hate the miles of run off around the circuit. Does woodcote really need all that run-off even for bikes???

    1. Watch the highlights of the race in Catalyuna and get back to me.

  17. While Silverstone was previously a technically challenging track which rewarded consistent and accurate driving, it hadn’t produced many good races, lacking overtaking other than in rain affected conditions.
    The changes have had a good impact, rewarding aggressive driving, punishing mistakes and napping drivers.

    Keith – to pick you up on one point from your piece:
    “Ample room for run-off allowed Sebastian Vettel to avoid what could have been a nasty accident when his front wing failed in Saturday practice.”
    Was that not in fact Webber’s wing which failed on Vettel’s car? ;)

    1. At that point they had one of the front wings each. It was that failure which led to the controversy…

  18. I am going to reserve full judgement on the new part of the circuit until I have been there to see some racing on it, as the TV can be very deceptive about width and angles etc.
    That said, it did appear to generate more overtaking into what is normally a very boring race. Is that what some of the drivers are complaining about more than the actual circuit – now theres a slow part where they have to fight for position?
    And whats all this nonsense about the bumps? Aren’t Monaco and Singapore bumpy? If the teams cannot work with the compromise between ride-height and speed, they don’t deserve to be there…..

  19. Slightly better I think; Loop was a bit nothingy but you can’t have the cars hammering into a hairpin there (as you do in Sepang or Shanghai) because if there’s an accident the cars will end up on the track at Maggotts! You can’t raise the barriers either, because the whole point is that Maggotts/Becketts grandstands viewers can see down the Wellington Straight. I’m really looking forward to seeing the first start from the new grid next year.

  20. I prefer the old track. I’m not a fan of the new track.

  21. I think it is much better, because all overtakes were made at the new part of track, and if there wasn’t the new part we would have just watched a procesional race.

  22. Its gotten rid of the Abbey chicane and the awful Priory/Brooklands complex. I hated the final section of Silverstone becaue of those mickey mouse left-hand corners. The new approach to Brooklands has transformed the corner into something pretty great.

    Bridge – no great loss. As Keith says in the article, it lose it lustre a few years back now. The new Abbey and following left are suitable substitutes.

    An improvement.

  23. The best thing about the new track (which I really like)? … The view (that I had) from the new grandstand at Becketts – we could see 11 (!) corners, including all of the new section and it was amazing to see how much action happened in those new corners.

    1. Was that on the outfield at Becketts? I’m on about going to the race next year and I want to sit at Becketts. Which corners can you see? Can you look to your right and see Copse and then look left and see Hanger straight and Stowe whilst sat at Becketts?

  24. I’m neutral atm.
    There was some overtaking indeed, big plus.
    And I think the view for the spectators is very good, with lots of action. big plus for the ppl there.

    But I miss Bridge big times, it’s such a great great corner in any racing car. I love driving it in racing games, just brilliant!

  25. I say “Slightly better than the previous track”.
    Dispite many overtaking happened in the new section but I still miss the Bridge corner. But in the end of the day F1 is the winner as it provided a good racing on a circuit which never disappoint the fans who visit it.

  26. The new Silverstone was (say it in a Borat voice): Great Success!

    1. I agree totally. I felt that the track flowed quite well and allowed drivers to pick exactly where they were going to over take, rather than wait for mistakes. Which inevitably caused the chasing driver to make mistakes.

  27. I don’t understand why they put that much kitty litter along Woodcote and the start-finish straight. I’ve never, in the past 20 years, seen any accidents along the straight, at least not in F1. Now the grandstands are 15 to 20 metres further away.

    1. Its for the bikes.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        13th July 2010, 21:56

        That’s most likely. At the beginning of this season, there was a GT1 (or maybe Dutch SuperCar) race at Silverstone, where the outside of the Start/finish was just earth. A car went off at the start, dug in to the mud and flipped over.
        Now, I suspect that the organisers had hoped to put something more permanent there (grasscrete?) in time for the Grand Prix, but maybe they ran out of time and had to settle for kitty litter instead.

  28. Robert McKay
    13th July 2010, 14:13

    It’s difficult to judge solely on that race because Vettel and Alonso were massively out of position, but there were some other overtakes that were more “normal”.

    But overall, I think it’s an improvement. Abbey is a more than equal replacement for Bridge plus it adds a couple of extra spots where, even if overtaking isn’t a given, it’s at least a possible, with extra lines and stuff for switchbacks etc.

    I wouldn’t go worrying about the bumps too much either, adds to the challenge, so ignore the whinging teams and drivers…

  29. Slightly off-topic, but having watched the YouTube clip of Dario Franchitti in Sao Paulo, I’m lovin’ the moving camera on top of the car.

    Would like to see that incorporated into F1 coverage.

  30. Its not just the track thats better, everything round the track is better, all the gates were open, there was more catering, the post race party was great fun. Bernie was right, it was a country fair and its now upped its game to the levels it should be.

    As for the new bit of track, well i sat in the becketts stand for qually and you get a sensational view not just of maggotts/becketts but the whole of the new section sits behind that and is elevated enough so you can see them all stream round.

    Silverstone is now a better place to visit than Spa if you ask me and next year it will be even better when the pit complex is done.

    Good points re the bumps Keith, complete wimps, get on with it or go and sit in your tax free haven and let someone else have a go.

  31. Michael Griffin
    13th July 2010, 16:36

    I love the new circuit, and the fact that there is a big bump at Abbey makes it better.

    We need more bumps in F1, they give opportunity for mistakes, which leads to overtaking as we saw in the race.

  32. Yep i got to the track at 9am on friday and all the stands were packed round us, there were definitely more “england” fans this year but good luck to them. i read there were 85k on friday, 85k saturday and 115k sunday. The circuit did a great job of looking after everyone from squire to chav!!

  33. Ok, if Lewis wins his second title this year the loop becomes Hamilton Hairpin!!

    I loved the new silverstone, lots of overtakes and high speed action, which mostly came about thanks to Vettel in the end! My only concern is about the new grid position. While on one hand a whole new pit comes is great, the moved start line has Abbey as a first corner, this may be easier than the old first corner so there would be less action.

    1. village corner..would be the first real braking zone and that should mix up the field a little more

      1. yeah the problem with starts with the current start/finish straight is that by the time cars reach the first big stop they are all pretty much in single file

  34. The new section is great for Silverstone and helped spice up the racing and all sessions over the weekend. It was awesome to watch cars from F1 to formula BMW trying to cope with the bump at Abbey over the weekend with plenty getting it wrong.

    I took some HD videos of the action so take a look if you want.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj_1SZFw-Ak

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtidCzEpADM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y02VWNDyM0I

    1. wow,thanks for posting that last video…JB really did a bad restart

  35. I voted for ‘slightly better’ – because the previous version was very good too (Abbey was a bit unusual, Bridge and Priory were great too), but this one is even better, plus it provides overtaking. I think it’s almost a perfect track now – so many fast challenging corners. The only thing missing is a bit more height difference, like in Istanbul or Algarve.

  36. John Edwards
    13th July 2010, 23:09

    BUMPS?!! Rubbish.

    I’ve spoken to a project manager doing the work at the track. The new corner at Abbey has no bump, its just an undulation change of about 50mm over 15m, because the cars are doing 185mph it get magnified. He said the problem of trying to merge the new circuit into the old had been quite challenging.

    If the bumbs are such a problem; soften the suspension!!! Monte Carlo has hundreds of bumps (exit of the tunnel?!!) so the drivers in my opinion should just deal with it and accept the challenge.

    They don’t know yet whether they are to remove the old track between Abbey and Brooklands, because it would be better for spectating and grandstands, the rest of the track is being resurfaced over the winter apparently.

    The improvements were good. Its a compromise to a certain extent, but it got rid of all the boring single file crap at the end of the lap and replaced t with a section where drivers can race.

    Sure Bridge is a loss, but it was never as spectacular when they put the chicane at Abbey in. The new Abbey is super, I watchewd the race from there on Sunday, very good indeed. The new pits will look spectacular.

    Overall; Well done to the designers and the builders.

    1. Apparently Lewis said he quite liked the challenge of the bumps!

  37. chapmondo.

    from becketts stand you an see them approach from maggotts thru becketts and then up towards stowe, they reappear at the new section and you see them onto the new wellington straight where they disapear about half way along. as far as a normalish priced stand goes its the best and it has a big screen

    1. Not any more, its top whack at £299 same price as all the other Platinum stands. In fact that Becketts and the new pit straight are the most expensive at the minute as they have the early bird discount on the other stands.

  38. I really enjoyed the new Abbey passage. The fact that it happened to turn out a bit bumpy only added to the challenge of that corner. I think that passage fit into Silverstone’s overall character as a fast circuit very well. I’m thinking it might be especially interesting come next year, when start/finish should be moved to that part of the circuit. It should be a great first corner, not unlike Suzuka – and then the field’s going to fan out, as everyone will try to make their first overtaking moves under braking for the Arena complex. Maybe that was a thought in making two really slow corners there.

    I also really liked the late apex for Brooklands, which created a few interesting situations throughout the race, where drivers did put up the confidence to try a move around the outside.

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