Formula One

British GP Track Layout, Turns and DRS Zones Analysed

It’s back-to-back action for F1, as the series visits its “home track”, Silverstone. Here is everything you need to know about the legendary British GP layout. Make sure to also check our F1 predictions and the odds for the British GP weekend.

F1 British GP Layout Silverstone
#55 Carlos Sainz (ESP, Scuderia Ferrari), F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 1, 2022 in Silverstone, United Kingdom. (Photo by HOCH ZWEI) – Photo by Icon sport

British GP Layout: Where Tradition and Modernity Meet

Similar to many other famous British tracks such as Croft, Snetterton and Thruxton, Silverstone was built on what used to be an old RAF airfield. While the track layout underwent minor re-designs from time to time, the original airfield outline remained largely unchanged.

In a bid to host MotoGP, the track underwent a major change ahead of the 2010 F1 race. The section between Abbey and Brooklands gave way to the new Arena section – a four-turn, 759-meter complex. The start-finish straight was also moved to what used to be the back straight. Abbey thus became the new turn 1, while Copse was “relegated” to the slightly more anonymous turn 7 moniker.

Drivers start their lap down the Hamilton Straight, named after the seven-time champion. Without lifting, the cars take a quick flick to the right for Abbey, and then turn left to take the long Farm corner flat out.

The first real braking point comes on turn 3, Village, a slow right-hander, which is followed by the slowest corner on the track – the Loop, a tight left-hander. Drivers then continue through Aintree, a sharp left-hander that is taken flat out and launches the car into the Wellington Straight.

Next up comes Brooklands, a long, medium speed left-hander that is immediately followed by Luffield, a right-hander with a very wide radius. Drivers can take multiple lines through this section, which usually leads to some overtaking opportunities.

Exiting Luffield, drivers emerge down the back straight and head towards the famous high-speed section. Almost flat out, they turn the wheel slightly to the right to take Copse. With only a slight lift of the throttle, the cars go through the blinding fast Maggots complex, a right-left-right sequence of challenging high speed corners.

Drivers then tap the brakes to take Beckets, a long right-hander. They then flick the wheel slightly left to take Chapel, a flat out corner that leads to the long Hangar Straight. Braking as late as possible and without scrubbing too much speed, drivers turn right to take the fast Stowe corner.

Following a short straight, the cars go heavy into the brakes for the Vale, a tight left-right sequence that leads to Club, the sharp final corner just before the main straight. Getting this tricky final section right and carrying as much speed as possible out of Club is absolutely crucial.

Silverstone Circuit DRS Zones: Two Long Straights and Some Massive Slipstream

Silverstone has retained its identity as a fast circuit with long straights. Two of those, the new Wellington Straight and the old Hangar Straight, serve as the DRS zones for the British GP layout.

The first DRS zone becomes available shortly after the start of the lap, with the detection point located just before turn 3. If the chasing car manages to close down the gap through the Village-Aintree section, it will get a major tow down the Wellington Straight. With some bravery under braking, the first DRS zone provides a big overtaking opportunity into the Brooklands-Luffield complex. Watch out for the different lines though, as this section of the track does give the leading car a chance to defend.

The second DRS zone is located on the Hangar Straight, which also happens to be the longest straight in the British GP layout. Its detection point is located a long way back, on the second leg of Maggots (turn 10). The chasing car must keep up with the leading car through the entire Maggots-Becketts complex, but will be rewarded with a massive tow down Hangar Straight. It’s perfectly possible to complete the overtaking move on the straight itself and well before Stowe (turn 16), such is the difference in speed.

Silverstone Racing History

1950Giuseppe FarinaGiuseppe Farina
1951Jose Froilan GonzalezJose Froilan Gonzalez
1952Giuseppe FarinaAlberto Ascari
1953Alberto AscariAlberto Ascari
1954Juan Manuel FangioJose Froilan Gonzalez
1956Stirling MossJuan Manuel Fangio
1958Stirling MossPeter Collins
1960Jack BrabhamJack Brabham
1963Jim ClarkJim Clark
1965Jim ClarkJim Clark
1967Jim ClarkJim Clark
1969Jochen RindtJackie Stewart
1971Clay RegazzoniJackie Stewart
1973Ronnie PetersonPeter Revson
1975Tom PryceEmerson Fittipaldi
1977James HuntJames Hunt
1979Alan JonesClay Regazzoni
1981Rene ArnouxJohn Watson
1983Rene ArnouxAlain Prost
1985Keke RosbergAlain Prost
1987Nelson PiquetNigel Mansell
1988Gerhard BergerAyrton Senna
1989Ayrton SennaAlain Prost
1990Nigel MansellAlain Prost
1991Nigel MansellNigel Mansell
1992Nigel MansellNigel Mansell
1993Alain ProstAlain Prost
1994Damon HillDamon Hill
1995Damon HillJohnny Herbert
1996Damon HillJacques Villeneuve
1997Jacques VilleneuveJacques Villeneuve
1998Mika HakkinenMichael Schumacher
1999Mika HakkinenDavid Coulthard
2000Rubens BarrichelloDavid Coulthard
2001Michael SchumacherMika Hakkinen
2002Juan Pablo MontoyaMichael Schumacher
2003Rubens BarrichelloRubens Barrichello
2004Kimi RaikkonenMichael Schumacher
2005Fernando AlonsoJuan Pablo Montoya
2006Fernando AlonsoFernando Alonso
2007Lewis HamiltonKimi Raikkonen
2008Heikki KovalainenLewis Hamilton
2009Sebastian VettelSebastian Vettel
2010Sebastian VettelMark Webber
2011Mark WebberFernando Alonso
2012Fernando AlonsoMark Webber
2013Lewis HamiltonNico Rosberg
2014Nico RosbergLewis Hamilton
2015Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2016Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2017Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2018Lewis HamiltonSebastian Vettel
2019Valtteri BottasLewis Hamilton
2020Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton
2020*Valtteri BottasMax Verstappen
2021Max VerstappenLewis Hamilton
2022Carlos Sainz Jr.Carlos Sainz Jr.

*70th Anniversary Grand Prix

The 1950 race was also the first in F1 history, with Gisueppe “Nino” Farina winning from pole. Silverstone has seen some famous moments involving the two members of the exclusive seven-time club. 

In 1998, Michael Schumacher had to serve a stop-and-go near the end of the race. Cleverly exploiting a loophole, the Ferrari driver got into the pits during the final lap. Since Ferrari’s pit box was located after the start-finish line, Schumacher won the race and then served the penalty. McLaren protested the result, but a series of mistakes by race control ultimately led to Schumacher retaining the win.

In 2020, Hamilton held a colossal lead over Max Verstappen entering the final lap. The race had already seen a fair share of front left punctures, and Red Bull chose to pit its driver as a precaution. Hamilton picked up a puncture on the final lap, but was able to wrestle his three-wheeled Mercedes to the line, as Verstappen’s late stop had cost the Dutchman over 30 seconds.

The following year, F1’s first ever sprint was marked by one of many controversial clashes between title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen. The Dutchman started on pole following a qualifying race win. Hamilton then attempted a zero-percentage move into Copse and the pair made contact, with Verstappen flying into the wall at high speed. The Mercedes driver, meanwhile, only picked up a minor five-second penalty. Hamilton went on to win the race in highly controversial fashion, pulling off a last lap pass on Charles Leclerc.

Last year’s race saw Carlos Sainz Jr. score his long-waited first (and so far only) win. The Spaniard started from pole, lost the lead to teammate Leclerc, but went on to regain it on a late restart as Ferrari opted not to change Leclerc’s tyres.  At the time, Sainz held the record for most points scored without a win.

What Lies Ahead for 2023

The European leg is going to be fruitful for Red Bull, and a nightmare for the rival teams. Silverstone joins the list of high speed, downforce dependent tracks that suit the RB19’s biggest strengths. Verstappen will likely be the man to beat for yet another weekend.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!