Silverstone opens “The Wing” – its new ??28m pits and paddock

2011 F1 season

Damon Hill, HRH the Duke of Kent, Stuart Rolt and Richard Phillips

Damon Hill, HRH the Duke of Kent, Stuart Rolt and Richard Phillips

Silverstone’s new ??28m pit and paddock complex, known as The Wing, was formally opened today by HRH the Duke of Kent.

The new pits and paddock will be ready for use next month and will be used for the British Grand Prix this year.

Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club which runs the circuit, said the new construction was essential to ensure the circuit’s future and place on the F1 calendar.

He said: “Around the world people are putting up palaces to motor racing.

“This cements the Grand Prix contract and kept Britain at the forefront of motor racing around the world.”

Unusually, the pit lane does not run level with the track. It stays flat while the tracks rises, meaning the pit wall is higher than the garages towards the end of the pits.

The pit lane exit slopes upwards and the drivers rejoin the track in the revised Abbey and Farm corners.

The old Abbey corner is no longer available for use as the previous Grand Prix circuit configuration has been decommissioned.

The repositioned start/finish line leads into Abbey. Jenson Button predicted a lot of action at the start with drivers going through the first two corners flat-out before braking for the next corner:

“Turn three is going to be interesting. The first time through with 24 cars nose-to-tail we’ll get a queue of cars on the inside, and it’s going to be who’s brave enough to go around the outside. You’ll see a lot of action.”

While Button praised the new circuit configuration, Stirling Moss couldn’t resist teasing host Jake Humphrey, saying “the original circuit was better”. “You weren’t supposed to say that”, replied Humphrey.

Derek Warwick praised how quickly the work had been completed, saying: “Three weeks ago there was no way we were having this today. This is the next phase of Silverstone.

“I don’t know if Bernie got square feet mixed up with square metres but it is rather large!”

Bernie Ecclestone was not present for the opening, but sent a statement saying the circuit’s facilities were now “state of the art”.

He added: “It’s a great shame it couldn’t have been completed ten years ago.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn hailed the changes, saying: “The history of Silverstone cannot be manufactured. We had to preserve it.

“The fact the BRDC have preserved the future of Silverstone is magnificent.”

Silverstone Wing pictures

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49 comments on Silverstone opens “The Wing” – its new ??28m pits and paddock

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th May 2011, 15:42

    Looking good, hope it works fine.

  2. Daniel Thomas (@iamdanthomas) said on 17th May 2011, 15:50

    I’ve got a very good feeling about this year’s race at Silverstone. I just love the idea of having Abbey as the first corner, seeing the drivers jostle for position through the Arena section and then letting it go down the old pit straight.
    Hopefully Vettel won’t have won the title by then.

  3. Dougy D said on 17th May 2011, 15:51

    I went up to Silverstone last Friday as was in the area and fancied a sneaky peak. The wing looks fanastic from the road, although they were still working on it then.

  4. Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th May 2011, 15:52

    So is this between Club and Abbey? I thought it was going to be between Arena and Brooklands.

  5. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th May 2011, 16:14

    It’s going to be weird seeing the cars go through Copse half way through the first lap, rather than right at the start.

    Also, I wonder if anyone manages to forget that the paddock has moved and drives into the old pit lane? It wouldn’t surprise me if Jenson Button did!

  6. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 17th May 2011, 16:19

    Sorry for the double post, but I’ve just wondered… is the new pitlane is bound to be the shortest of the season in terms of time? It looks to me like it could well be, although perhaps Montreal is even quicker. I wonder if we could be on for another 4 stopper race, depending on the tyres Pirelli provide?

    Actually, I think a comparison of pit lane lengths would make a for an interesting F1F feature. I don’t suppose those sorts of things get loads of hits, but I’m sure us true F1 Fanatics would certainly be interested

    • njw said on 17th May 2011, 16:53

      +1 for the pitlane feature

      • Snow Donkey said on 17th May 2011, 17:18

        +1 Again. I think it holds relevance this year with the number of pit stops seen, and maybe would shed some light on tracks where being kind to your tires is especially rewarding and vice-versa.

    • JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 17th May 2011, 17:44

      +1 i always love the unique fanaticism on here, stuff casual watchers just dont get…

    • biggles22 (@biggles22) said on 17th May 2011, 17:46

      It’s not just the pitlane length that has to be considered, it’s the time taken to travel around the normal track from where the driver begins to decelerate to where they rejoin. Tracks that have pitlanes that cut of a significant portion of the track obviously have shorter pitlane deficit. Could be fun getting hold of the data for the time taken from entry/exit points on the track.

    • ledzep4pm (@ledzep4pm) said on 17th May 2011, 18:01

      Great idea for the pit lane comparison article.
      The Pit lane time loss looks minimal as the cars miss vale and club and go through quite an open right hander into the pit lane. And the exit looks pretty fast too

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th May 2011, 18:15

      Good idea for an article Ned!

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th May 2011, 18:31

      I knew entering, stopping and exiting cost 20-22 seconds on average, but that was when there still was refuelling. I don’t know hoe long it takes now, I guess approximately 17 seconds.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 17th May 2011, 23:56

      There was an article about that a few months back I believe, in fact it may have been in Keith’s interview with the track designers. It was set up that way intentionally to be short and have as minimal an impact as possible on a driver’s lap time when pitting. With this year’s tires I think it’s safe to assume that will encourage all teams to take an extra stop if they’re on the fence.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th May 2011, 6:16

        Yeah, that was part of the last interview with Populous Keith did.

        But to build on that and put it a wider comparison of tracks would be pretty good, I guess.

  7. Stanzo said on 17th May 2011, 16:25

    On the pictures you can see the track is alot higher than the pits garages.

    How are the mechanics and all the material going to be moved to the grid before the start of the race?
    Also, they have to quickly move to the garages as the cars leave for the warm-op lap. Seems difficult with this design…

  8. Christian Briddon said on 17th May 2011, 16:29

    Can’t wait for Silverstone this year as our seats are opposite the new pits.

    Should be a great weekend. :-)

  9. MattJ said on 17th May 2011, 16:34

    Keith is that not the Duke of Kent?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th May 2011, 17:50

      It is, have corrected it, thanks.

      • StephenH said on 17th May 2011, 19:41

        Damon seems to be getting pretty chummy with Royalty. Wasn’t Prince Andrew present when they opened the Arena Circuit last year ??

        I think Damon could be in with a chance of a knighthood !!

        Hard to say he wouldn’t deserve one after all the work that’s gone in.

  10. Zecks (@zecks) said on 17th May 2011, 16:57

    i wonder where they will put the DRS zone? into abbey would be bonkers

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 17th May 2011, 17:05

    Is the F1 Paddock now behind the new pits?
    If so, how do the tranporters get there – is it all to go over the Hangar Straight bridge or is there a new bridge or tunnel?

  12. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 17th May 2011, 17:18

    am I the only one sad to know that the old track has now been decommissioned? :C I like the new one, but I kinda hoped they’d keep the old one.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th May 2011, 17:44

      Nooo :( My favourite corner was Bridge, playing it in F1 Challenge was lovely.

    • Ned Flanders said on 17th May 2011, 17:52

      I think they initially planned to, but presumably they couldn’t find any series that actually wanted to use it. Aside from Bridge, I doubt it’ll be missed

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th May 2011, 17:52

      Well, there’s no need to keep it and they can put the space reclaimed to good use, so I’m not surprised it’s gone. By getting rid of it they can position other grandstands better as well.

      And I don’t get people complaining about getting rid of Bridge. It stopped being a corner of any real interest once they turned Abbey into a chicane – and that was 17 years ago!

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 17th May 2011, 18:33

        It surely wasn’t difficult as a corner, but it was a high-speed swerve which I liked driving through in videogames. I know real life is different, but I never had the chance of driving an F1 car there :(

      • Calum (@calum) said on 17th May 2011, 19:42

        Is it not becoming a fan zone? I thought I read that on here that they wanted it to rival ‘Henman Hill’ from Wimbledon as a fan atmosphere experience.

  13. Cluffy_Wedge said on 17th May 2011, 17:27

    It’s amazing when you think how little we’ve spent compared with Abu Dhabi and such. Go British ingenuity! After all, that’s why all the teams are from here.

  14. StephenH said on 17th May 2011, 19:31

    I wonder this means ….

    “Arise, Sir Damon !!” ??

    Would sound rather good I think.

  15. John H said on 17th May 2011, 19:40

    Pit lane article sounds great. Good one Ned. It always bugged me when Murray would say a pit stop takes 25 seconds but disregard the fact the other cars still needed to cover 5 seconds of track as well!

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