British GP Preview

British Grand Prix 2017

Hear from McLaren Honda drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne as they prepare for Round 10 at Silverstone.

Fernando Alonso

“Silverstone is a racetrack that I enjoy coming back to year after year. Everyone knows it as a real driver’s track, with an incredible history and amazing support from the fans, so it’s a special weekend for every driver. For a McLaren driver, it’s even more special, and the reception we get from the British fans is always fantastic.

“I really enjoy the challenge of this circuit, and a good result there always feels like its well-deserved, because it’s a tricky track and a tough race. I hope we will have more luck at our home race than we did last weekend in Austria – it was an unfortunate incident and I hope we can bounce back, fight hard as always, and see what we can do in the race.

“The characteristics of the Silverstone circuit are high-speed, but also high-grip, and I’m excited to see how this year’s cars perform on this track – especially on the faster sections of the circuit. Let’s see if we can maximise the strengths of our car in the corners and fight for the best possible result for the team. It’s important that we can stay out of trouble at the start, and have good reliability throughout the weekend so that we can build momentum in every session leading up to the race.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

“I’m really looking forward to going to the British Grand Prix for the first time as part of a British team. At McLaren Honda, we are lucky that we receive amazing support from fans all over the world, but I know that the atmosphere at Silverstone is extra special. I’ve raced in the UK a number of times and I spend a lot of time there with the team, so it does feel like a second home to me now.

“The track is really fun to drive – very fast and tricky in places, especially at the start of the lap, and then the last sector with its infield section requires a different set of skills and a stable, responsive car. I’m looking forward to seeing how our car behaves, particularly in those sections, and hopefully we can stand our ground against our nearest rivals.

“I’ve stood on the Silverstone podium twice in GP2 and it was a great feeling. I hope I can have a positive weekend there again and have a smooth run up to Sunday, so we can maximise the package that we have. I feel comfortable in the car and we’re definitely making progress, so the aim is to be able to show that in front of the loyal fans and make the most of the weekend.”

Circuit info 

Circuit name: Silverstone
First race: 1950

Previous winners

 2016Lewis Hamilton
 2015Lewis Hamilton
 2014Lewis Hamilton

History lesson

Silverstone and Formula 1 are inextricably linked. The former airfield hosted the first world championship grand prix in 1950 and it has been a regular fixture on the F1 calendar ever since. It’s been re-profiled several times, but it hasn’t lost its high-speed character; the fast corners demand the same respect today as they did 67 years ago.

What makes the race special?

It’s fast. Silverstone is one of the few circuits at which F1 cars can really stretch their legs: last year’s pole position was set at an average speed of 237.521km/h/147.589mph and lap times are expected to be even faster in 2017.

Bet you never knew...

There have been three different homes of the British Grand Prix: Silverstone, Aintree and Brands Hatch. The European GP was staged at Donington Park in 1993.

Crazy moment

There have been many, but few more crazy than 1973. The cars got away cleanly from the grid, but chaos ensued at the end of the opening lap. Jody Scheckter crashed into the pitwall and took out seven other cars, resulting in the race being stopped. Remarkably, no-one was seriously injured and McLaren’s Peter Revson went on to win the race.

What we love

The fans. The crowd at Silverstone is respected for its passion and knowledge of the sport. The waft of barbecued food coming from the grandstands adds to the atmosphere too.

McLaren memory

1977, a race won by James Hunt from pole position. His team-mate Jochen Mass finished fourth and Gilles Villeneuve, making his grand prix debut in a third McLaren, came home 11th. The French-Canadian was hugely impressive, even out-qualifying Mass by 0.2s.

Sporting legacy

Silverstone is one of the busiest racetracks in the world. As well as F1, it hosts many other world championship series, such as WEC and MotoGP, and a vast array of UK-based national championships race there as well. It is the self-styled Home of British Motorsport.

Did you know?

There have been 11 British winners of the British Grand Prix. As follows: Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton.

Don’t forget

McLaren has won the British Grand Prix 14 times, most recently in 2008.