Was new Silverstone a success? (Poll)

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. Oli said on 13th July 2010, 11:30

    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???

  2. Willl said on 13th July 2010, 11:30

    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? ;)

  3. DGR-F1 said on 13th July 2010, 11:31

    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…..

  4. LewisC said on 13th July 2010, 11:31

    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.

  5. Chaz (@chaz) said on 13th July 2010, 11:47

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

  6. 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.

  7. Ben said on 13th July 2010, 12:02

    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.

  8. MattB said on 13th July 2010, 12:10

    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.

    • Chapmondo said on 13th July 2010, 18:30

      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?

  9. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 13th July 2010, 12:26

    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!

  10. 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.

  11. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 13th July 2010, 13:36

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

    • Ryan F said on 13th July 2010, 14:41

      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.

  12. Lustigson said on 13th July 2010, 14:10

    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.

    • Butler258 said on 13th July 2010, 20:58

      Its for the bikes.

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 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.

  13. Robert McKay said on 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…

  14. theUKdude said on 13th July 2010, 15:28

    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.

  15. antonyob said on 13th July 2010, 16:13

    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.

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