The Formula One paddock is coming home. The vast majority of Formula One teams have their main base of operations within spitting distance of Silverstone, making it the rarest of weekends for the race teams, one of minimal travel. Silverstone is traditionally a good race, with lots of overtaking opportunities and changeable weather.
Silverstone is littered with potential overtaking points, depending on how brave you are. While some cars on fresh tyres will be able to take turns one and two flat, others will not, making the heavy braking zone into turn three a massive opportunity for overtakes. With DRS available down the Wellington Straight coming out of turn five, Brooklands becomes an opening, although the long right-hander of Luffield can give drivers a chance to take back a place as well.
Copse corner – turn nine – is a beautiful, fast right-hander but it is wide enough and with enough of run-off on the outside, that it can be a place for overtaking for the very brave. There is only one line though maggots, becketts and chapel but with DRS down hangar straight, opening up stowe as a passing place and the heavy braking zone of vale can be one for the late brakers.
Silverstone sees the use of the hardest three compounds Pirelli offer – Hard, Medium and Soft. Looking at last season’s pitstops we can see that the medium tyre, which most qualified on, lasted around 18-21 race laps before teams switched onto the hard and running it fairly comfortably for 25 or so laps until the rain came and the intermediates were needed.
Let’s take a look at how the teams have allocated their tyres this year:
Unsurprisingly a lot of teams have opted not to take an extra set of the hard tyre, Sauber in particular have loaded up on soft tyres, obviously buoyed by their longevity so far this season. Ferrari have been surprisingly attack-minded, their 3 sets of medium tyres gives them little flexibility on race day to run longer stints and while the extra set of hard’s may be useful if they have an off during practice they may find themselves having to run multiple short stints on sunday.
Silverstone’s sweeping fast corners and heavy braking zones make it hard on tyre life so stretching the softs out will be dangerous, we saw what happened to Sebastian Vettel when he tried to eek out some extra laps in Austria.