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. Michael Griffin said on 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.

  2. antonyob said on 13th July 2010, 16:43

    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!!

  3. Calum said on 13th July 2010, 17:38

    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.

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

      • ;379 said on 3rd March 2011, 20:15

        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

  4. 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

  5. Enigma (@enigma) said on 13th July 2010, 23:02

    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.

  6. John Edwards said on 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.

  7. antonyob said on 14th July 2010, 9:02

    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

    • Andrew said on 14th July 2010, 12:00

      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.

  8. -A- said on 14th July 2010, 17:42

    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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