Formula 1

Silverstone set to host its 50th British Grand Prix

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This weekend Formula 1 returns to where it all began 64 years ago as Silverstone hosts its 50th British Grand Prix.

Set in the heart of the British countryside, this former airbase has become one of the greatest motorsport venues anywhere in the world.

Its blend of medium and high-speed corners also make it one of the fastest on the F1 calendar despite the need for engine power being one of the lower priorities.

No instead this track is all about downforce with only a handful of corners under 100mph (160kph) and three areas where cars corner at around 180mph (290kph).

There is four straights of note but because of the high downforce wings the cars use only the most powerful cars will be nudging 200mph (320kph).

This is in contrast to the original design used in the early days when the drivers raced along the runways and outer roads of the airbase.

The circuit was all about power with the corners mere areas where the drivers had to hang on for dear life.

Also safety was far less of a consideration with hay bails and in later days catch fencing installed to try and stop any car that simply flew off the track.

As the cars got faster finally changes were made with a sequence of slow corners introduced near the end of the lap and the incredible Maggotts and Becketts complex also added.

The current layout was only introduced in 2010 as part of a major redevelopment of the track, a new pit complex known as the 'Wing' was built and used for the first time a year later.

Changes to the track saw the cars swing right at Abbey rather than left and incorporated the Wellington Straight which the cars run down to join the old layout at Brooklands.

When the changes were made to the circuit some were worried the flow and rhythm of the old layout would be lost.

However, one thing designer Hermann Tilke wanted to do was add another overtaking opportunity.

What the fans and drivers do enjoy is the new Abbey corner at turn one, a flat-out 180mph right hand kink, this leads into a sweeping left at Farm almost reminiscent of a flat mirrored version of Eau Rouge.

Through Farm the drivers must then pick a braking point for the slow right at Village, this has been a success at generating overtaking, however, the demoted driver can attack straight back at the hairpin left at The Loop.

This is where the newer section joins the National layout as the left kink through Aintree leads onto the Wellington Straight.

The first of two DRS zones will be located here as drivers reach 190mph  before another good overtaking zone into Brooklands.

A more open corner than before this leads immediately into the long right at Luffield and onto the old pit straight.

Once a formidable corner Woodcote is now an easy flat right hand kink, though can still prove tricky in the wet. The cars reach 180mph leading onto one of the signature high-speed corners in F1 at Copse corner.

The drivers try to lose as little speed as possible through Copse as a short straight leads to one of the most challenging sequence of corners anywhere in the world.

Maggotts and Becketts is a left, right, left, right combination which gets tighter with each turn.

While 2014 may be all about the power units, the reduction in aerodynamic grip has also been one of the big changes for the drivers to adapt to as the cars have been seen sliding around much more than in previous years.

All of the high-speed corners will be slower and more difficult than before, but with more weight as well, the change of direction through Maggotts and Becketts will be perhaps the biggest challenge for the drivers at Silverstone.

A left kink at Chapel leads onto the Hangar Straight as the cars reach 190mph thanks to DRS before the sweeping right at Stowe.

This was the corner Michael Schumacher famously broke his leg at 15 years ago and is also challenging with an apex speed of roughly 120mph.

A short straight leads into the final complex, the slow left of Vale into the double-apex right of Club onto the pit straight to complete a lap.

The British Grand Prix is a home race for three drivers, Max Chilton, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton as well as nine of the eleven teams who call the UK home.

The passionate fans will flock to Silverstone come rain or shine safe in the knowledge that there is rarely a dull race at one of the sport's greatest venues

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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