The current crop of F1 drivers are looking forward to the getting their first taste of Silverstone’s new Arena layout at the British GP this weekend.
The circuit includes a re-profiled Club corner, a fast right-hander at Abbey, a new infield section and the use of the National straight which has now been renamed Wellington straight.
Autocar asked five drivers what they thought about the new, faster layout of the Northamptonshire circuit.
Jenson Button, McLaren
“It’s amazing that the team and us, two Brits, are heading into Silverstone first and second in the championship. We’re also heading into that race with an update for the car. We didn’t have anything new on the car at Valencia but still came away with a reasonable result. I’ve always loved Silverstone and can only imagine that the track changes will play to the strengths of our car.”
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
“Silverstone is a huge challenge and a very important fixture on the calendar for me. It has a real buzz. It’ll be fascinating to see how the new track settles in. The new Abbey right-hander looks like the fast turn seven at Nürburgring and I think there will be a possibility of grabbing a tow coming up to it from Club.”
Mark Webber, Red Bull
“The track hasn’t changed massively and it’s still going to be a brilliant circuit. The changes they’ve made have been mainly for overtaking. They kept all the good stuff; obviously Bridge was a nice corner, but you can’t have everything. The first section of the lap is superb — we’ve always known that, and they haven’t touched that part. The kink off the back straight [the new Abbey], that looks very quick.”
Robert Kubica, Renault
“At the moment I don’t know a lot about the new section that has been modified. I will probably search for some videos of the track on the internet and, of course, I’ll walk the track on Thursday. It’s challenging going through new corners as you have to discover the grip levels and the line on the limit very quickly, so the first few laps there on Friday morning will be very interesting.”
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
“I’m sure the new circuit will provide a great show. It will be interesting to see precisely how quick it will be at the end of the day and we will have a lot of work to do determining tyre wear levels and what strategies and set-ups will be best for us, so I’m looking forward to getting there.”