Silverstone Circuit - Where did the passion go? - 2.8.2010
Silverstone hasn't been a good drivers circuit for years. There are a few good corners like Bridge, Copse, Maggots, Becketts, Chapel but there are also some terrible sections of track. Lets take the track corner by corner and see what's right with the circuit and what's wrong with the circuit.
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Silverstone Circuit - Where did the passion go?
Silverstone Circuit - Copse
A high speed corner which can give the driver real satisfaction, it's crucial to be precise at Copse to ensure you have the speed on the following straight down to Maggots. The issue with Copse is that it is slightly off camber, which is never a good feature for a corner. If Copse has a flat surface or if it was on camber it would be perfect.
Silverstone Circuit - Maggots, Becketts, Chapel
Nothing to say here, the Maggots, Becketts, Chapel series of corners are one of the great corner sequences on any track anywhere in the World, high speed, high cornering forces, accuracy and line are crucial.
Silverstone Circuit - Where did the passion go?
Silverstone Circuit - Stowe, Vale
Completely disgusting sequence of corners which gives absolutely no pleasure to the driver whatsoever. Stowe has a number of lines but the fact that there is not a clearly defined apex make it unsatisfying. The fact that the corner starts before you would like to start turn to make the apex further aggravates the situation. To cap it all Stowe is slightly off camber and the off camber increases on exit makes the Stowe corner very unappealing. The solution is simple, the corner should be more well defined. A clear apex and the elimination of the off camber - the old Stowe corner was one of the most awesome corners anywhere.
Vale is completely Mickey Mouse and has been put in solely with the goal of increasing the lap time for F1 cars with no thought being put into what would make it a good drivers corner. The fact that Vale is also slightly off camber doesn't help
Silverstone Circuit - Abbey
Not a spectacular corner but normal. Still not a shadow of the original Abbey corner which was one of the fastest corners anywhere
Silverstone Circuit - Arena
It probably obvious, but this section is another Mickey Mouse section of Silverstone, again the intention of building this section of circuit is obvious, to extend the lap times of the F1 cars. It is also obvious that drivers were not consulted in it's design.
Silverstone Circuit - Brooklands
Before we get to Brooklands let consider what Silverstone Circuit has destroyed in the name of extending the lap time with the addition if the Arena section. Silverstone Circuit has decided to take Bridge corner out of the Grand Prix layout. So we have lost one of the World's great corners in Bridge and replaced it with, as mentioned above, a complete farce of corners whose only purpose is to extend the lap time of the circuit. If anything displays the philosophy of the track designers employed by Silverstone, it is this, the destruction of Bridge.
Onto to Brooklands, never a great corner, again the origins of Brooklands comes from the desire to increase the lap time. Very slightly off camber, a bit Mickey Mouse but could be worse.
Silverstone Circuit - Luffield
Luffield is okay, Luffield is a slow corner where precision is critical for good speed onto the main straight.
Silverstone Circuit - Woodcote
An extremely fast corner if you are in the right machinery, easily flat though. A remnant of the old circuit and it shows.
Silverstone Circuit - Summary
Maybe it is not fair to compare the modern circuit with the Silverstone of old because the old layout was one of the fastest circuits in history and still holds the World record for the highest average speed set on a qualifying lap.
The fact that the modern circuit is built in an different era is no excuse for it not to be a satisfying drivers track. If the planners consulted with drivers during the design process, there is no reason why Silverstone could not be one of the great tracks.
For an example of how a truly great circuit can be adapted to the modern era and still give the driver a rewarding challenge, take a look at Imola. Some might say the new Imola circuit is even more enjoyable that the old. One thing is for sure, the designers employed by Imola could teach the Silverstone planners a lot about designing a rewarding race track.
Below is a satellite image from Google, although it does not show the new section of the circuit, the old course of Silverstone circuit is still visible
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j9osgUunXk- On board lap of the old Silverstone Track, a circuit where balls were just as important as talent
Source of Information on Silverstone Circuit
Silverstone Circuit - Official Site
Silverstone Circuit History - EVO Magazine
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