Home teams primed for landmark British Grand Prix weekend

There will be a very different feel around the Formula One paddock as teams return to racing action at one of the sport’s most historic venues.

The first of two British Grand Prix weekends will mark the 70th anniversary of the famous race, which has been held at the Silverstone circuit on the championship calendar since 1950 and has been a mainstay on the F1 calendar ever since.

For many of the British based teams, Silverstone is a home race and none more so than for the BWT Racing Point team, that has its base at the circuit. And, following a highly successful start to the 2020 season, the team will once again be hoping for more to celebrate come Sunday evening.

“It’s great to be up there fighting at the front again,” said Sergio Perez, who is tied fifth in the standings with Alexander Albon. “We had a tough year in 2019 and it shows that all the hard work we did over the winter to put that right was worth it. We’ve made a good start – but I think even more is possible. We’ve had some bad luck so far and the best is yet to come.

“It always makes me feel proud to race at Silverstone. Knowing I’m driving a car that nearly 500 people helped design and build in a factory just across the road gives me extra motivation to do well as a ‘thank you’ to everyone in the team. It can be quite an emotional event for all of us.”

For such a historic landmark, it is, of course, a shame that the usual hundreds of thousands of fans that flock to Silverstone on an annual basis will not be there to share in the celebrations.

“We miss having the fans everywhere we go – but the British fans are so enthusiastic and are real petrolheads,” adds teammate Lance Stroll. “It feels like the heart of Formula 1 at Silverstone and you really feel that every time you race in front of those fans. It’s a shame we won’t get to experience it this time – but we’ll try to put on a good show for those watching at home.”

It’s not only the BWT Racing Point team that counts Silverstone as its home race, and there will be many fans of the famous Williams team cheering on from home, especially as George Russell will be competing in his second home race.

“I am incredibly excited to go driving again at one of the best circuits of the year though, as it is always a joy to drive around Silverstone and I will be giving it everything I have got,” said Russell in his team’s race preview. “It will be nice to have two races in the UK this year; I will be staying on site in a motorhome which will be a nice experience for me and something a bit different to usual.

“I think our pace won’t be quite as strong as we saw in Budapest. In Hungary we well and truly exceeded expectations, and things were working really well for us in qualifying. I expect us to go back to our reality which is probably a more similar pace to what we saw in the first week of Austria. Nevertheless, myself and the team will be giving it all we have got.”

Whereas Russell does not expect to be challenging for the major places again this weekend, for another British driver, anything other than victory will be seen as a failure – the great Lewis Hamilton having won a record six times at a circuit that provides one of the highest average speeds on the F1 calendar.

And, with the British summer again set for a heatwave over the coming days, there will be a huge emphasis on tyre wear. As such, the British Grand Prix will see the first use of Pirelli’s C1 compound in 2020 – the hardest in its range – alongside the softer C2, C3 and C4 compounds.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.