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?


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.


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)”

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

  13. 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

  14. 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.




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

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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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