A Preview of the Circuit’s 50th Grand Prix
With just three races to go until the 2014 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX (04-06 July), 1996 World Champion and 1994 British Grand Prix winner Damon Hill, current Lotus F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean and Derek Warwick, former Renault Formula 1 driver and President of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) were all at Silverstone today (Thursday 15 May), looking ahead to this year’s event, which will be the 50th Grand Prix to be hosted at the Northamptonshire circuit.
The three Formula 1 greats were joined at Silverstone by a host of iconic cars, which have either won the Silverstone British Grand Prix, or played a significant role in the sport’s glorious past, including:
- The historic Renault RS01; the first turbocharged Formula 1 car which made its debut at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1977
- The Renault RE40; Alain Prost’s 1983 British Grand Prix winning car
- The Lotus 98T; Ayrton Senna’s spectacular 1986 car in iconic John Player Special livery
- The Williams-Renault FW14, which Nigel Mansell drove to victory at the British Grand Prix in 1991
- The Williams-Renault FW14B, which also won the British Grand Prix in 1992 in the hands of Mansell, who went on to win the World Championship in the same car
- The Williams-Renault FW16, in which Damon Hill won the 1996 World Championship
The assembled cars provided a real taste of what fans can expect to see at this year’s British Grand Prix. As part of the circuit’s ‘Silverstone50’ celebrations, a host of iconic British Grand Prix winning cars are being assembled to feature in three commemorative parades - one on each day of the event – and will be driven by some of the biggest names in British and world motor sport.
Also present at Silverstone was Rob White, Renault Sport F1’s deputy managing director (technical), who was on hand to provide a wealth of technical information on the original turbocharged cars. An original 1984-1986 Renault EF 15 two-litre engine and Renault’s modern day Energy F1-2014 hybrid power unit, were also on display.
Earlier in the day, Grosjean took to the track in Alain Prost’s Renault RE40, and was able to compare first-hand the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of Renault‘s pioneering turbocharged Formula 1 power units. Speaking about his experience, Romain said: “Driving the RE40 felt the same, yet different at the same time. Downforce, power, braking, the car itself, the behaviour, that’s Formula 1 - even though it’s 30 years old it feels the same as today. But then of course the ‘H’ gearbox was a bit difficult to get used to at first, and the turbo lag was quite big, so you can’t imagine how tough it must have been to warm the tyres up in the race and get the throttle application right. There are less buttons on the steering wheel though, which is nice! The noise felt like an engine from the past. The unburned fuel in the exhaust made a really nice noise and vibration; it was a really great feeling.”
“The British Grand Prix is always one of the best Grands Prix of the year, because England is the home of Formula 1 and our team is thirty minutes from here. I live in the UK, so it’s like a second home Grand Prix for me - and the fans are great. They love cars, they love motor sport; they are here very early in the morning and they leave late in the evening. It’s great to see that people love to come here. They enjoy the Grand Prix and they love the show - they are here to enjoy it all.”
Damon Hill, 1996 World Champion, commented: “It’s great to be back here and reunited with the car that I won the World Championship in in 1996. Although I didn’t win the British Grand Prix in this one; that was two years before in 1994, also in a Williams-Renault. I’d like to think that winning the British Grand Prix is great for any driver, but particularly if you’re a British driver, there’s nothing like it. It is one of the biggest events of all the Grands Prix we go to. There’s such a massive crowd, and to get all that satisfaction and give people satisfaction with a victory at your home grand prix, you just can’t beat it.”
“The heritage of Silverstone is so special, and it’s fantastic to be celebrating having 50 Grands Prix here. Silverstone remains crucial to the Championship, it’s a world famous circuit and it keeps Grand Prix racing here where it should be, in the centre of Great Britain. I think the atmosphere is the thing I’m most looking forward to, I just love the buzz. It’s a great celebration and it’s also a fantastic sporting event. There’ll be extra excitement this year with the strong possibility of seeing a British winner.”
Derek Warwick, President of the BRDC and works Renault driver in 1984 and 1985, commented: “Seeing these cars here today brings back many memories of the British Grand Prix. Silverstone is the home of motor racing no matter where you are in the world and it’s the most challenging circuit you’ll ever drive on as a racing driver. Racing in front of your home crowd makes you just that inch taller. You get lifted by the crowd as you go through the front gate, your heart rate goes up and it’s just amazing, you can’t put it into words.
“The British Grand Prix has developed into a four day event now, and this year the fans will be able to get up close to these Grand Prix cars with the parades and Heritage Pits. They’ll also be able to access the open Pit Lane on Thursday. Fans will be able to get into the centre of the circuit and see the history of Formula 1 and Silverstone, and also the drivers that have been such a part of it. The fans are in for a real treat and I’m really excited about what we’re going to be able to see here.”
Other cars confirmed to be on display in a ‘Silverstone50’ Heritage Paddock at this year’s British Grand Prix include: Nigel Mansell’s 1987 Williams-Honda FW11b, and Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren Mercedes MP4-23, which he drove to World Championship glory in 2008. Sir Jackie Stewart is also confirmed to drive his 1969 British Grand Prix winning Matra MS80 in the commemorative parade.
The 2014 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX will be the 50th Grand Prix to be held at Silverstone since Luigi Villoresi won the first ever event on 02 October 1948, two years before the inauguration of the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1950.
Please visit the Silverstone50 microsite for more information on this year’s celebrations here: http://50.silverstone.co.uk
Tickets for the 2014 FORMULA 1 SANTANDER BRITISH GRAND PRIX are available from £65pp and are on sale 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit www.silverstone.co.uk for more information or call 0844 3728 300.
For official 2014 Formula 1® hospitality enquiries, call 0844 3728 230.comments powered by Disqus