Silverstone’s new track and changes for 2011

Posted on April 29, 2010

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Silverstone launches its new track today as the Northamptonshire circuit marches on into a new decade of Formula One.

A new paddock and pit will open for the 2011 event, while these upgrades in the second half of the lap will increase average speed and boost overtaking opportunities. It’s all very exciting and should make for a great race this summer.

McLaren will be desperate to get closer to the dry weather pace before then. Taking two British world champions to the home of motor racing is good enough but if one of can take the chequered flag so much the better. I’m sure Jenson Button will have been gutted not to take the win last year as Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull dominated the middle part of the season.

Now the teams have safely escaped Shanghai, Formula One is collectively holding its breath ahead of the start of the European season in Barcelona. There’s going to be lots of upgrades though many of the teams are being fairly tight-lipped about what they’re bringing.

We do know Mercedes are bringing a longer wheelbase car, which apparently should improve the car for Michael Schumacher. If it does the reverse for Nico Rosberg it would be hugely unfair though Ross Brawn is insisting it corrects a balance problem in the car caused by the new tyres. We’ll see but it would be a shame if the team is building around the seven-time champion despite his less than inspiring return.

We’re also seeing bit and pieces coming together for the 2011 regs. How it’s not already resolved is beyond me but here we are.

The most significant thing to my mind is the possible return of Kers. Ferrari and Renault are offering standardised systems to the pitlane which is a good start – though McLaren will be ticked after coming up with the best system in 2009.

It’s an odd technology for racing cars, harvesting power under braking for a power boost button, which strikes me as a poor alternative to simply making sure the cars can run closer together. Moreover, if everyone has Kers and everyone has the same system, it’s surely going to cancel itself out. But we’ll see.

There are also continuing discussions of a tyre supply for next year. As I posted previously the introduction of a new firm is a good thing: more marginal tyres seem to me to be the best way to improve the racing. Two firms, Michelin and Avon are apparently in the running. There have been discussions about changing the rim size and so on but FOTA and FOM really just need to get on with it.

Pick a single supplier who can specify the tyres and let the designers get to work.

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Posted in: Formula One, News