With the Silverstone circuit having been given its first major layout change since the 1994 season, it is hoped that the addition of the new ‘Arena’ loop – bypassing the Bridge and Priory corners – will improve overtaking in Sunday’s race.
However, the change in track surface from the old to the new sections has caused issues for the entire field, and event organisers have already made arrangements to re-profile some of the higher kerbs that the drivers felt were hazardous.
So what do the drivers think of the new layout? Here’s a driver vox pop with their feedback…
Mark Webber: “They got it right. I don’t know who chalked up this track but whoever did got the angles right to make it difficult. It’s tricky in places, whoever had the pencil did a good job.”
Sebastian Vettel: I think everyone is struggling over the bumps. "I don’t quite understand because you enter the new section and it’s a new bit of asphalt, so it should be flat. But it’s quite a big bump and I think everyone struggled: some people more, some less. But it’s not comfortable that’s for sure. [The new layout] doesn’t suit the traditional Silverstone because it’s quite low speed. It’s good that we still have the old bits and the proper corners, and it adds something new to the track so it’s an extra challenge.”
Fernando Alonso: “The track is better, more fun for the drivers to drive. More safe to drive as well, so I really like the new part of the track and we will put on a good show for everybody on the new layout.”
Lewis Hamilton: “It is bumpy – probably a bit more bumpy on our car for some reason, so that’s what we are trying to fix. But otherwise it’s very fast, very flowing. I don’t think it upsets the swing of the track or anything. Like I’ve always said, it’s a bit different turning right into Abbey instead of going left to a chicane. It’s still very fast and still picking up grip bit-by-bit. There is a big bump going into Turn 11, but that just makes it more exciting.”
Robert Kubica: “It is slippery, it is bumpy, I think less challenging – so I am surprised. But whatever the reason was behind it, it is the same for everybody. It will be a great race [on Sunday]. As always Silverstone is an amazing track, especially the first sector that stays the same, so it is still fun to drive around here.”
Michael Schumacher: “It’s an interesting part, certainly, but it’s a shame they couldn’t introduce any overtaking [places]. But otherwise it’s very fluid, very fast. A little bit bumpy in one or two places.”
Heikki Kovalainen: “It’s okay but personally if I could choose I would prefer the old [layout]. I think Bridge Corner and the Priory Corner were really cool corners, and this new circuit is nothing too exciting. It is nothing too special. If it improves overtaking, then fantastic. But otherwise I don’t find it too exciting.”
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]