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SILVERSTONE FINALSECTOR 2011 PREVIEW


BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

THE TEAM

EDITOR’S LETTER

Matthew Bacon

We are only a few days away now from the British Grand Prix and Formula One is coming home. The British Grand Prix is one of the best on the calendar and just got even better, with the new pit complex opened in May 2011. This season with the new Pirelli tyres, DRS and the return of K.E.R.S so far has been amazing.

Robyn Blake

Sebastian Vettel might be running away with the championship but we are only 9 races in with 10 to go and a lot of racing to come yet. Rumours are always floating around the paddock with Lewis going to Red Bull or Massa losing his seat nothing is set in stone just yet. Daniel Ricciardo will take part in the full weekend in a Hispania instead of just first practice making there two australians on the grid.

Daniel J Morse

There is a change to the regulations to deal with to this weekend with the reduction on off-throttle blown diffusers down to 10%. There has been so much speculation on how much the change will effect Red Bull. Hopes are high in Mclaren and Ferrari that the amount of time loss is less than the Red Bull meaning they can close the gap. We won’t know the full effect until qualification on Saturday, will the charging bull still be the pole sitter.

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FINALSECTOR / BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

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SILVERSTONE

Laps: 52 Circuit Length: 5,891 KM Race Distance: 306.747 KM Lap Record: 1:30.874 - F Alonso (2010) 2010 Winner: Mark Webber (Red Bull) Silverstone is the home of 8 out of the 12 teams in Formula One making this a important race for teams to do well. Silverstone opened a new pit complex in may this year and some track changes that were introduced for 2010. The start/finish straight has been to moved to the international pit straight and the first corner is now Abbey. There will be 3 british drivers on the grid with Paul di Resta being the latest british driver to make it to Formula One. We wonder will we be hearing God save the Queen on Sunday, We hope so.


DAY OUT AT

FOTA

FAN’S FORUM

Words : Oliver Queisser // Photos: Mclaren

© www.mclaren.com


FINALSECTOR / BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

APPLICATION

T

he whole story starts a few weeks ago with me in a lesson at school sitting looking at twitter on my phone and noticing that I could apply for the fans forum. I sent in a question about the safety car situation in canada thinking it's not a great question but why not? I might get a place. A week or 2 later, I received an email from FOTA (it's not every day that happens) saying I got a place to go and that it was 5 times oversubscribed!

ON THE DAY

N

obody was allowed to go directly to the McLaren Technology Centre but McLaren had arranged parking at Mercedes-Benz World (which is much bigger than I remember) and coaches (Mercedes of course) to the MTC. McLaren don't allow photography at the MTC so my pictures are limited but i have a couple. We arrived at the MTC all amazed at the building, even if I had been before the MTC never fails to amaze. Walking in, we were given big passes that called us VIP Guests and had the wrong date on - still a nice memento though. Photo of VIP pass

THE TOUR The Forum started at 11am so there was A bit of time before to walk around the boulevard and look at the old cars. I'd seen it all before but I still really enjoyed it as I now know more on the technical side and know what to look for. I discovered that the McLaren MP4-13 and MP4-14 both have blown diffusors so it's nothing new. I also had a look round the trophy cabinets which were as you'd expect, very full.

THE FORUM The forum was kicked off by ex-commentator James Allen who presented McLaren chairman Ron Dennis. Ron welcomed us all to the MTC and made a few jokes about various things such as him having to trust Martin Whitmarsh being in charge of McLaren. After his quick intro he went off back to his office and left us to quiz the team principals. In the Team principals session we had Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren), Ross Brawn (Mercedes GP), Graeme Lowdon (Virgin Racing) and Robert Fernley (Force India) and there were a wide range of questions from the 2014 engines to F1 being eco-friendly to the sports accessibility like whether F1 should stay on free to air TV and the services like the 'Pitwall' on mclaren.com There were also some polls on issues to get an idea on the proportion of people who thought certain things. This was good for peoples views on DRS and whether they feel it is artificial or not and also the issue of free-to-air TV broadcasting and how people would feel about it no longer being free. The second session was all about the technical side of F1. The team principals had gone and we had Paddy Lowe (McLaren Technical Director), James Allison (Renault Technical Director) and Paul Monaghan (Red Bull Head of Car Engineering) answering questions. There were some really good questions like one asking what a car would look like without regulations. Paul Monanghan from Red Bull obviously brought up the X2010 from Gran Turismo 5 but James Allison disagreed and thought it would be different. Paddy Lowe didn't speak of any ideas of his own but mentioned that if there was a championship with no technical regulations it would be boring and physically impossible for the drivers. There was also a point about possibly bringing back refueling to "improve the show" but all three guys said that it would be expensive to transport about the equipment and also not needed with the Pirelli tyres. Another question was very relevant and was about the off-throttle blown diffusor ban for the british grand prix onwards. All three of them were very secretive as to how much of a difference the ban will make to their cars performance but James Allison gave a ballpark figure of around 0.8 seconds even though it will vary from team to team. Continued..


FINALSECTOR / BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

The final session was the one we all looked forward to as the panelists were Lewis Hamilton and Kamui Kobayashi. There were some interesting questions like what are the drivers opinions on KERS, DRS and the Pirelli tyres. Both Lewis and Kamui said they loved them and enjoyed the strategy in using them throughout the race weekends. Another great question was about the viewers getting the same view in the cockpit as the drivers. Lewis revealed that when he plays racing games he uses the T-Cam like we get for onboard for TV because it's easier that way. Lewis said he'd like to try a small camera taped to the side of his face so we could get the same view as he does. Kamui also said he'd like to try the same and he also wants more information to be available to the viewers to enhance the experience of watching Formula 1. The best question in my opinion was if you could ask Ayrton Senna one question, what would it be? Lewis said that he wouldn't want to ask anything about F1 as he thought the last thing he'd want to talk about was his every day job. He also said Before he got to F1, he always thought he'd never ask a famous person for an autograph because they're always being asked for autographs. You have a conversation and hopefully they appreciate that more. He said he'd probably ask Senna about his favourite music. It would be interesting to see what he was into. Kamui said he had no idea and would probably ask what car he drives. Lewis then remembered that he'd also want to ask him how he qualified a second ahead of everyone at Monaco. The drivers session was very short - about 15 minutes so there weren't many questions. The drivers then disappeared off round the back of the stage and James Allen started to end the forum. Kamui then came back out to look at some of the old cars in the boulevard. Just before James Allen finished, I shot up with a few others to get Kamui's autograph. I didn't know what he could sign for me but luckily the person infront of me got their pass signed and I stole their idea and did the same. Luckily Kamui had a pen too! and yes, his autograph does look a bit like something rude. After the I got Kamui's autograph and the forum was all over, I had another look round and had some nice McLaren lunch which David Croft from 5 Live was really tucking into. Once that was done I had yet another look at the cars and then decided it was time to go. On the way out I was greeted by some McLaren staff who were giving out big books to everyone which was another nice memento from an all round great day. <<< James Allen takes to the stage to introduce Ron Dennis (Mclaren CEO). Image © Mclaren / FOTA

GALLERY

Kamui and Lewis awaiting Questions >>> Image © Mclaren / FOTA

The New Mclaren MP4-12C on display

Image © Mclaren / FOTA

Fans take a look around some historic F1 Cars. >>> Image © Mclaren / FOTA


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FINALSECTOR / BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

The Teams Ferrari Fernando Alonso has revealed that being behind Red Bull by approximately a second for the rest of the season will make it impossible to catch them. Ferrari president Luca Montezemolo, however, has different ideas and urges the team not to give up on getting their first win of the year. Although with Pirelli bringing the hard compound to Britain, Felipe Massa reckons the team will struggle to bring home a good result.

Force India

The British based Indian outfit are looking to repeat their results in Valenica, qualifying in the top ten and being competitive during practice. Rookie Paul di Resta will be making his Silverstone debut in front of his home crowd, and is in agreement with team principal Vijay Mallya regarding a top 10 qualifying position. The team has also employed the talents of renown motorsport artist, Dexter Brown to use one of their cars as canvas, which will auctioned for charity complete with signatures from the paddock.

Hispania As confirmed by the team Toro Rosso reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo will be replacing Narain Karthikeyan for the remainder of the season, although Karthikeyan is expected to race in the Indian GP debut. Often outpacing Buemi and Alguersuari, he'll be looking to continue this trend as he joins fellow Red Bull alum Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Renault

The team are looking to recapture the success they had in Australia and Malaysia, Eric Boullier is intent on returning to podium and on understanding what needs to be done. Like the rest of the grid they are dealing with the midseason regulation changes, but are optimistic that the ban won't affect the balance of the car due to their unique exhaust position. James Allison also brings up the notion of saving a set of options in qualifying and staying in the garage, something Pirelli is hoping to change.

Mclaren Another team going to their home race this weekend, and Martin Whitmarsh is excited about the prospect of gaining an advantage from the off-throttle ban. Confident that his engineering team has overcome the mid-season adjustment, Whitmarsh believes it may have a positive effect on the 'competitive order' come race day. And he will be bringing a range of updates to aid the cause further, a revised DRS wing, plus 'various bits and pieces'.

Mercedes A disappointing race for the team in Valenica, but back on home turf they're optimistic with their prospects for Silverstone. Mercedes Vice-president Norbert Haug has revealed that the team are aware they do not currently have the form to challenge the top three, and don't expect to do so at the British GP. But both Haug and Brawn acknowledge the hard work put in by the team to improve the technical package they are bringing to Silverstone.


FINALSECTOR / BRITISH GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

The Teams

Red Bull

The dominating team are looking for another victory, with calls from the grid for Mark Webber to pull ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The Australian won here last year, and of course is looking for a repeat performance. The track has proved to compliment the Red Bull set-up, but it's a matter of wait-and-see to deduce whether the new configuration will still favour them.

Sauber Sauber's technical director, James Key, believes the new Silverstone layout will offer better overtaking chances, something that could benefit Kobayashi. With regards to their car, Key and the team have highlighted an issue with qualifying during the last two races. Addressing this has led them to work with the proposed soft and hard compounds, and the general set up of the car to 'extract its full potential on a single qualifying lap. Sauber will also be bringing diffuser updates and a new rear wing for testing.

Team Lotus

Their second home race of the season will see the first outing of their new sponsors, General Electric and Caterham logos will feature team-wide over the course of the weekend. Mike Gascoyne believes this will be a good race for the team, but dismisses the idea the ban will have an effect on grid position. This week the team have performed a straightline test in preparation to gauge the possible effect it will have on them.

Toro Rosso Another team that is nearing the switch to 2012 is bringing a couple of small upgrades to Silverstone.They brought a bigger package to Valencia where Alguersuari matched his career best. But even though they are ahead of their 2010 tally, the team acknowledge their position is due, in part, to other teams mistakes. Sebastian Buemi will be eager to to improve on his previous results to secure his racing future with the team, Franz Tost said it looks 'risky' due to Alguersuari's recent form.

Virgin Racing The team will be joining forces with 'Cars 2' for the Silverstone weekend, timed a week before the UK premiere, Glock and d'Ambrosio's cars will feature characters from the film. On track they will be bringing their last major upgrade for the year, and the final one signed off by Nick Wirth. After this the team will bring minor updates, but will now ficus on their 2012 car.

Williams The off-throttle ban is at the forefront of the team's mind during this visit to Silverstone, they will be getting up to speed with the new software on Friday to 're-tune' their setup. They'll still be using the blown diffuser for the corner exit, but will be deciding between two styles of diffuser before qualifying on Saturday, the team will also be bringing a new front wing.



British Grand Prix Preview