Mercedes, winners in Great Britain last year, left Austria with a one-two finish, but were shocked in qualifying as Williams locked out the front row. Can the Grove team repeat the feat on home soil - or will rivals like Red Bull carry the fight to the Silver Arrows? Those involved discuss their prospects...
2013 Qualifying - 3rd, 2013 Race - DNF
"I always like going to Silverstone, the track is incredible to drive and the British crowd that turns out to watch the weekend is always massive - whether it's wet or dry everyone always looks like they are having a really good time. This year I will be staying in the UK after the race which is good because normally we have to leave straight after. It's a busy time right now, we had Red Bull's home race in Austria, the team's local event here and then we go to my home race in Germany! This race has an extra element as it's so close to the factory and a lot of the staff who work so hard on the car will be watching from the grandstands with their families - I hope we can get a good result for them. As the factory is only about half an hour or so from the track a lot of the race team live nearby and can sleep in their own beds for the weekend which surely is a nice thing for them. I have good memories of Silverstone, the best must be winning there in 2009 and Mark won there in 2010 and 2012 so we have a good record at the track."
2013 Qualifying - 5th, 2013 Race - 8th
"Silverstone is great. It's just a great, great racing circuit. It's fast, it's flowing and you really get to rag your car for all it's worth. There's nowhere better at letting you know how very, very good an F1 car is than Silverstone, and in particular through that ultra-fast Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex. The two hairpins at Turns Three and Four give you quite a variation of racing lines, even though they're ‘just' hairpins. You can push hard through the first one and sacrifice the second or you can do the contrary. The more I drive it, the more I also enjoy the new section because it creates more chances for overtaking and it's not as straightforward as it looks. I'm looking forward to my first race with Infiniti Red Bull Racing this year at Silverstone, I know a lot of the guys are going to be watching at the track so I'll be going at it for a good result."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
"Silverstone is a fantastic event. It's the Factory's local event, it's great that there are so many fans there and it's a unique atmosphere with all the camping and the smell of BBQs - there's always a real buzz about the place. I've been going there since 1992 and you always get anticipation, in a good way, when you go through the main gates. We always get a fantastic reception - the fans are among the most knowledgeable in the world and there's a tremendous support for motor racing in the UK. The factory is only about 20 minutes away from the circuit so it's fantastic to have so many of the team attend the race - and it gives an extra element for the race team as well, knowing their colleagues and families are in the crowd supporting them. All things being equal obviously the Mercedes have got such an advantage at the moment it's going to be tough to beat them, but as we saw in Montreal recently, anything can happen and we're going to be pushing hard. Renault are working hard on their side and hopefully we can give them a bit of a run for their money."
2013 Qualifying - 7th, 2013 Race - 19th
"It's a fantastic track with a lot of high speed corners which should suit the E22 a lot better than the circuits we've visited recently which have seemed to jump on every weakness with our current package. Silverstone is challenging, but it has a good feel. It's one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. It's quite a feeling going through there and I can't wait to feel that sensation once more. It's also a special Grand Prix for the team as the factory is very close to the track. It's always nice to see not only the race team, but also some of the many people from the factory come to see us out in action. It's thanks to all their hard work that we're out on track and they are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard."
2013 Qualifying - 15th, 2013 Race - 11th
"I've won at Silverstone in the GP2 Series and I've always really liked the circuit. I've spent so much time in England that it's like a second home to me, especially as I have family who live very close to the circuit in Oxfordshire. It's a great event coming mid-season and it always provides an interesting race. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series. Hopefully the high speed corners will work better with our car and it would be great to be back to where we were in Barcelona which is quite a similar circuit to Silverstone. Obviously, at the Barcelona test teams were all running to different programmes, so I don't think we're suddenly going to be the fastest car, but I do expect to be further up the order than we have been at recent races."
Federico Gastaldi, Lotus deputy team principal
"I would not say that we came away with too much satisfaction because we were not rewarded with points but for Pastor the maximum was extracted from his race in Austria, so positives could be taken. This gives us a good platform to achieve our aims and objectives for Silverstone, which is to add to our points tally. But first we have to match the slower speed corner performance of the E22 to the high speed performance. The momentum we got from the Spanish Grand Prix and the test afterwards was forgotten slightly after the tough three races since then. But we know that at a track like Silverstone we should be able to see similar performance and exploit the capabilities of the E22 and the powertrain package with the help of Renault Sport F1."
Nick Chester, Lotus technical director
"Obviously Silverstone is a very different track to Austria, with many more high-speed corners that will suit our car better. We've also got a few updates, including a front wing and floor, some different combinations of aerodynamic parts to try and some new set-up concepts to explore. It's a home race for the team so we'd like nothing more than to put on a good show in front of our factory staff and all the loyal fans in the grandstands."
2013 Qualifying - 1st, 2013 Race - 4th
"It was great to get another one-two finish for the team in Austria and I'm so proud of all the hard work everyone is putting in to keep us at the front this season. Of course, it wasn't the result I wanted personally and it was disappointing not to be able to capitalise on my pace when it was clearly there. But in the end, coming back to second place was positive in terms of damage limitation. Silverstone is obviously a special race for me and the support I have there is just incredible. The British fans are the absolute best in the world and it's really humbling to see thousands of people out there cheering you on - no matter what the weather or the result. I won the race in the wet in 2008, which was just the best feeling. I think the gap was around 60 seconds at the end, and I'd lapped everyone up to third place which was just unreal. I could never have hoped or dreamed for a race like that - especially at my home Grand Prix. That has to be one of the best moments of my career. I loved raising that gold trophy in front of the home crowds and I'm determined to get my hands on it again this year."
2013 Qualifying - 2nd, 2013 Race - 1st
"The last race weekend in Austria was not an easy one for us overall, so I was delighted to come away with the win and even more so for the team to have both cars at the front when we crossed the line. The atmosphere at the circuit was really great and, being so close to Germany, it almost felt like a home race for me. Silverstone is another special one for me, as I managed to win there last season. It was actually very close to my birthday and I had a really cool experience after the race. There's usually a fan festival with rock bands and all sorts after the track action finishes, which is something I go to almost every year. This time, I was up on stage doing a quick interview and the whole crowd started singing Happy Birthday to me, which was very cool! The British fans are absolutely fantastic. So I enjoy going to Silverstone personally, but really this one is all about the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it's a home race and many of them will be there with their families and friends across the weekend. I want to put on a good show and get the best result possible out of it for them after all their hard work this season."
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"We were delighted to get another top result in Austria. Our weekend in Spielberg was one of the toughest so far this season, with a qualifying performance which did not match our expectations. To bounce back with another one-two finish was highly satisfying - particularly as our rivals pushed us harder than ever throughout the race. This demonstrates once again how crucial it is to remain 100 percent focused on the task at hand. We can afford no mistakes if we are to achieve our goals, as there will always be someone waiting to punish those mistakes. We now head to Silverstone - one of the highlights of the year for the team. For the hundreds of people at Brackley and Brixworth it provides an opportunity to see the results of hard work in action on the track. Our drivers are both particularly strong at this circuit and we can expect another tightly contested battle between the two of them. Equally, many of our rivals see this as their home race and will be highly motivated to gain an advantage. There are certain teams in particular who have a record of success here, so we are taking nothing for granted. It is up to us to ensure that our motivation is the highest of all as we look to put on a show for the incredible Silverstone crowds."
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
"It was a great result for the team to get another one-two finish in Austria - even more so considering our below-par grid positions. For Lewis in particular, to come through from ninth place and be fighting at the front was an impressive performance, while it was also immensely satisfying to see seven of the top ten cars powered by Mercedes-Benz. While it was a less than straightforward weekend for us, the event itself was fantastic. We very much enjoyed returning to Austria and will look forward to going back there again in the coming years. For now, though, we look ahead to Silverstone and a different challenge to anything we've seen so far this year. It's a very fast circuit layout which tests aerodynamic performance to the very limit. We demonstrated our competitiveness there last year with victory for Nico and equally with pole position for Lewis - who was extremely unfortunate not to achieve the result he deserved with his tyre failure in the race. We're very much hoping that our strong form will continue and are looking forward to seeing another tightly contested battle between our two drivers. The circuit is a matter of miles from our factories at Brackley and Brixworth, so we're determined to put on a great show for everyone in the team as well as the fantastic British fans."
2013 Qualifying - 14th, 2013 Race - 10th
"[Silverstone is] definitely one of my favourite races. We had a full house at the last race in Austria and I expect the same at Silverstone. The fans are great and it's a race with so much history. Because it's the home of the team, I can spend a lot of time at the factory seeing the faces that I don't get to see that often. There's always a good feeling about the whole week. All of the drivers enjoy the quick parts of the lap and you have to be committed. When you hook up all the corners in one lap it's a great feeling. It's difficult to know how the harder compounds will impact us, but I hope I can continue my run of points."
2013 Qualifying - 13th, 2013 Race - 20th
"[Austria] was a very strong race for us and an important result. I think we had the pace to fight for a podium, but allowing for the circumstances I think we did a good job. The approach we take is to think about how we can be competitive over a 70 lap race. In the last few events I've done really well, apart from Monaco, where we didn't have the opportunity. We're getting there, but it's just unfortunate that we've been unlucky. I think Silverstone will be a bit more of a challenge compared to the last few races, but I am sure we can still do a good job. It's a track I enjoy and I usually go well there. We have been performing solidly on every track so far and I see no reason we can't put in a similar performance this weekend. It's also the team's local race so this adds an extra motivation for us to do well."
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
"[Austria] was a very good boost, especially for Checo, after what happened in Montreal. He got the fastest lap too, which I think says a lot. It was important to get both cars in the points to hold onto our fourth place in the championship, although I think we could have done a bit better with Nico. Silverstone is special for us; we regard it as our home track. We'll pull out all the stops and put on a good performance. We have to get out of this mindset of saying we are good on this track and not so good on another track. We need to be competitive on all tracks, which has been the case so far this year."
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
"Silverstone is one of the truly great venues of the year, which is steeped in history and always thrilling for the drivers and fans because of the high speeds involved. British fans are among the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic of the year: it's absolutely fantastic to see them out in full force, whatever the weather. And the weather is always a talking point in Silverstone of course; in the past we've seen everything from bright sunshine to torrential rain. As a result, the ability to make quick strategy decisions based on real-time conditions is always very important, as you can't necessarily rely on previous data. We've brought our two hardest tyres, which should be well suited to the conditions, and after the race we look forward to the final dedicated in-season tyre test of the year, from Tuesday to Wednesday. Ferrari and Marussia will be driving for us on the first day, with Red Bull and Lotus on the second day, as we continue our development test campaign."
2013 Qualifying - 17th, 2013 Race - 14th
"With its fast corners, the track in Silverstone is nice to drive. In terms of the performance, we are quite limited at the moment. I hope the updates will help us to improve the driveability and the overall performance of the car to a certain extent. However, the weather there is tricky, which can provide some opportunities for us. We need to keep ourselves motivated and have to take any chances, as anything can happen during a race. Regarding my accommodation in Silverstone, I will be staying in a motorhome, so it will be a different but enjoyable atmosphere."
2013 Qualifying - 6th, 2013 Race - 7th
"I like the Silverstone track. Many fast corners demand high aerodymic requirements on the car, and a good downforce in order to be fast. It will be interesting to see how we perform there. The weather can also play a major role, as it rains quite often in Silverstone. It is traditionally a nice event as there are many fans at the track and the Brits are generally enthusiastic when it comes to motorsport. Last year I had a good race that I finished in the points."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber head of track engineering
"The preparation for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is centered around high speed cornering and change of direction. The car must be stable and reactive, but also cope well with the bumpiness of the surface. The amount of lateral energy through the tyres each lap makes it one of the most demanding venues especially on the carcass side, thus the medium and hard compounds are allocated as a sort of protection. They should be fine, irrespective of possibly cool and changeable weather. The C33 will be aerodynamically updated in the area of the front underbody. Considering that the power limitation will be less severe than in the last two events, we keep targeting reducing the time gap to the midfield."
2013 Qualifying - 12th, 2013 Race - DNF
"It's a track I love, one of the best on the calendar, because of all the high speed corners. It is very important to have an excellent aero package here as it is all about those high speed turns. With this year's car it might prove quite tricky as everyone has less downforce to work with. It will be interesting to see how the new type of Formula One cars perform around this circuit. I'm looking forward to this race, because driving a Formula One car at Silverstone is really thrilling. I even lived in Milton Keynes for two years, so I know the area well."
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
"I really like this track, with plenty of great sections, like Maggotts and Becketts and Copse. The new section is quite technical. The weather can have an effect of course, especially the wind which can catch you out in the high speed corners. Track conditions, wind, it's England. It's a bit of a home race for me as I have a flat in Milton Keynes, which is where I spend most of my time. I won't stay at home for the race weekend though, as it's better if I can stay closer to the track. It means I won't have to cook my own breakfast and do my own laundry. I enjoy my time there. We will be trying to make the most of any opportunity."
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
“The British Grand Prix is our second home race of the season and one everybody likes for many reasons! For the drivers it’s a good challenge as it’s one of the classic circuits, and the fans love it as there are so many F1 supporters in the UK. I am always amazed at how enthusiastic British motorsport fans are and I am excited about seeing them - It’s one of the good ones.
“On track we’re obviously aiming to pick up from where we were in Austria. I’ve been speaking to the guys at the factory a lot since they returned from Austria and we think that we can start with the good baseline setup on Friday. We’ve had a chance to look in much more detail at the data from Austria and know where we need to go to cut the gap even more and that’s the goal. With the improved reliability we had at the last race, and the nature of the Silverstone circuit, I think it could be a good weekend for us. Whatever happens, I’m sure the fans will enjoy every second, and our aim is to give those in green something to cheer for.”
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
“Next it’s my first British Grand Prix as an F1 driver at one of the great circuits of the season, Silverstone. I understand it’s the 50th anniversary of the race this year and there’s obviously so much history about the place - honestly it’ll be an honour to race there in its 50th year and I’m sure it’ll be a special weekend for everyone taking part.
“I’ve obviously raced at Silverstone many times before - I was on the podium back in 2011 in GP2 and one of the things that really makes Silverstone stand out is the fans. It’s like Austria was last week, and Germany and a few other races - it’s packed right from Thursday morning until late Sunday night and that makes an amazing atmosphere. The British fans are among the most knowledgeable, passionate fans anywhere, and they absolutely love F1, whatever the weather!
“For us this is another chance to keep fighting back against our nearest rivals and after we made some progress in Austria we want to pick up where we left off. Silverstone should actually suit the car better than Austria as we’ve been working on improving further the setup that allows us to maximise the aero package, and at a track like Silverstone, where aero performance is crucial, we’re aiming to build on the step forward we made in Austria.”
Robin Frijns, Caterham test and reserve driver
“I’m back in the 2014 car for the first time since Bahrain and excited about getting back in the cockpit and helping us make some progress again, and seeing how the car has developed since early April. I was in our 2010 car a couple of weeks ago at the City Racing event in Kazan, Russia, and that was cool, but the real work is in the current season car in an official session and that’s what Friday morning is all about. The last few races have obviously been pretty tough for the team, but we clearly made some progress in Austria and we think we can do the same again at Silverstone, a track where we should see more from the setups we ran on Saturday and Sunday at the Red Bull Ring. Hopefully the weather will be good, not something that you can ever guarantee in England, but with us being able to use two sets of tyres in FP1 sunshine will help us get the most out of the session, for me and the whole team.”
2013 Qualifying - 10th, 2013 Race - 13th
“The Santander British Grand Prix is one of Formula One’s most important races because so much of our sport has been grown and developed using British technology, passion and determination. For any driver, your home Grand Prix is massively important - but, like Monza and Monaco, Silverstone is special for everyone.
“The fast corners of the Grand Prix circuit aren’t necessarily going to suit our package, but we’re bringing improvements to the car all the time, and we’re now seeing some really positive correlation between the tunnel and the track, which is encouraging for our ongoing development programme.
“Finally, and on a personal note, this race is going to be a special one for me because it was always such an important race for my dad. I’ll be wearing a special pink helmet for the race weekend, and I’m hoping people will enter into the spirit of supporting the #pinkforpapa effort to wear something pink on Sunday to honour his memory. He won’t be there this year, but he’ll always be with us in spirit - I hope he brings me some extra luck on Sunday.”
2013 Qualifying - n/a, 2013 Race - n/a
“I tested at Silverstone last year during the young driver test, so it’s a circuit that I’m already pretty familiar with. It’s a great track, with lots of fast, sweeping turns - really enjoyable, and, with such high-commitment corners, a real challenge to wring the last few tenths from the car.
For me, this race weekend will be a particularly important one because it’s the team’s home race - there’s an added pressure to do well in front of your home fans, and the families of many of the people who’ve worked so hard to put our cars on the grid. I know that this race won’t be best suited to our package, but I nevertheless hope we can repay some of their hard work this weekend.
“Racing at Silverstone is going to be something special for me: it’s a circuit with some of the richest history in Formula One. It’s where the world championship started, it’s a race I grew up watching, and it’s a place where you can still feet a solid connection to the past. It’s an honour to be racing at Silverstone’s 50th Grand Prix this weekend - as a British team, I hope we can do something a bit special to mark the occasion.”
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
“For McLaren, Britain’s oldest and most established Formula One team, the Santander British Grand Prix is the most significant and important event on the calendar. It’s the race that connects us to our roots within British motorsport, and it gives us the opportunity to race in front of tens of thousands of British fans - the most knowledgeable, loyal and passionate motorsport enthusiasts in the world.
“As in Austria last month, the high-speed sweeps and esses of Silverstone won’t particularly suit the MP4-29 - our car’s package doesn’t excel around fast, long corners - but there were positives to take away from that race, so I’m hopeful that we can maintain that trend this weekend.
“For Jenson, his home race will be an emotional one, and I know that he’ll be pushing for a strong result to please the fans and honour the memory of his father. Kevin, too, knows the importance of racing in front of the team’s home crowd, and is very keen for another positive result. Both drivers have performed fantastically all season, and I know they’ll be pushing as hard as ever at Silverstone this weekend.”
2013 Qualifying - 11th, 2013 Race - 6th
“Silverstone will be a special race, not just because it is the team's home race, but also because I shall celebrate my 200th Grand Prix. British fans are passionate about Formula One and it will be great to see the support for the team. Silverstone is a very quick track and good downforce is needed. I really like the Maggotts-Becketts complex; it's a really fast part of the track and very important to get right. It will be interesting to see if we can maintain the pace we had in Austria, but the main focus will be on getting some good points.”
2013 Qualifying - 16th, 2013 Race - 12th
“I am really looking forward to Silverstone. It's always a great event and means a lot to us as it's the team's home Grand Prix, so hopefully some of the guys from the factory can come up and support us as well. We are hoping for a good result again, but will have to wait and see how the track suits us. We are aiming to be strong and to build on the momentum we have coming from Austria.”
Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
“Silverstone is a very interesting circuit. It poses a real challenge to the engineers and drivers as we have to set the cars up for such high speed corners like Abbey, Copse and the Maggotts-Becketts complex. The car does have to be set up differently from other high speed circuits. The layout has high power and drag sensitivity which should suit our car this season. Depending on the temperature we can suffer from rear tyre graining, however, the hard tyre we have for the weekend could also suffer from low-temperature issues which we will have to manage. The weather always plays a huge part in the weekend as it can change from session to session. The circuit is old-school in terms of spectators as the layout allows the fans to get a good view, which makes for a great atmosphere; there is always a full house which makes it a pleasure to go there.”
2013 Qualifying - 19th, 2013 Race -16th
“I think this will be a very exciting weekend for the team as we will be racing not only in front of the British fans but also many of the staff from the factory, as well as their friends and families. Of course, this brings a certain pressure, but the car performs well at a high speed circuit like this so I’m sure we can have a good race and achieve a nice reward for the team. I like Silverstone very much. It’s a fast track, so fun to drive, and also there is a lot of history to the circuit. Perhaps the British weather will play a part, which will help to make things even more interesting.”
2013 Qualifying - 20tht, 2013 Race - 17th
“This weekend is naturally one of the big highlights of the season, both for me and the whole team. It’s a fantastic occasion, made all the more special this year by the 50th anniversary celebrations, which I’m sure will be amazing. It’s always a special feeling to race in front of the wider team and of course the British fans, who are so passionate and create that incredible sea of Union Jacks in the grandstands. I can’t wait for the weekend. Silverstone is a great track and I hope we can achieve a really good result there.”
John Booth, Marussia team principal
“The British Grand Prix is always a fantastic event but this year it will have an extra special significance as Silverstone marks 50 years of Formula One races. I am quite sure that we will see a spectacular event this weekend, with plenty to remind us of the circuit’s rich history. Silverstone is of course in our own backyard and it provides a rare opportunity for all our staff members to get a little bit closer to the action and to see the product of their hard work performing right in front of them. I am sure our drivers will be keen to deliver a strong performance to reward all the efforts behind the scenes. I know we can also count on a very warm reception from the British fans, who have always been so supportive of our team and drivers. Throw in a little great British weather and I think we can look forward to a very interesting and exciting weekend for the team.”
Mattia Binotto, Scuderia Ferrari Engine & Electronics Deputy Director
“The British Grand Prix is one of the historical events on the calendar and this year it has a special significance since it is the home race of our partner Marussia F1 Team. There will be one more incentive to try to do well, even on our part. From a strictly technical point of view, the Silverstone circuit has no special features with regard to the use of the power unit. It will be important to try to take advantage of the free practice sessions to fine-tune every detail of each management component. Given that the weather conditions have traditionally been highly variable, the reliability will be a crucial factor as always, both at the macro level and micro. Together with our partners, in Austria we got back on the positive path we were on prior to Canada and this weekend we want to continue on the same direction of growth.”
2013 Qualifying - 9th, 2013 Race - 3rd
“I think Silverstone is a very challenging circuit, very demanding with its high-speed corners and the whole track is tough on the car and for the driver too. There’s a great sense of tradition here, so all the drivers want to do well at this event in front of the English fans. Not only are they very passionate about the sport, they also know their Formula One.”
2013 Qualifying - 8th, 2013 Race - 5th
“Silverstone is a track with a great tradition and on top of that, the fans are very knowledgeable and they are happy to support you whatever team you drive for. The track has changed a bit in recent years, but I like it a lot, as all the very fast corners make it very challenging. It often rains, which means it can all become a lottery, but it’s the same for everyone. All I can say is that, as usual, we will be trying our best.”