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British GP: Preview - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
08/07/2019

For the third time this year (after Bahrain and Spain), Pirelli will bring the three hardest tyres in its range - C1, C2 and C3 - as the White hard, Yellow medium, and Red soft respectively at Silverstone. This is to cope with some of the highest energy demands of the year, thanks to the British circuit's famous fast corners. As the venue for the very first world championship grand prix nearly 70 years ago, Silverstone is one of the spiritual homes of motorsport, which is always hugely popular with fans.

Silverstone's defining characteristic is those rapid corners, with the Maggots, Becketts and Chapel sequence in particular - which the drivers enter flat-out in top gear - putting a lot of continuous energy through the tyres. As a result, they are subjected to very high g forces.

The entire track has been resurfaced just before the grand prix this year, in order to smooth out the bumps, improve drainage, and accentuate cambers. This could result in even faster lap times. The fastest-ever lap of the current layout was set by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton last year in qualifying.

Silverstone is all about lateral energy rather than traction and braking, although there are also some slower and more technical parts in the Arena complex. Consequently, some degree of compromise is needed when it comes to set-up. It's a circuit where overtaking is definitely possible, but this requires a lot of commitment.

Typically for England, the weather is very hard to predict. Both bright sunshine and torrential rain have been seen in the past for the British Grand Prix - sometimes during the same weekend - so teams will need to be prepared for anything.

Both one and two stops were used last year, in a race that was (unusually) affected by two safety cars. All the drivers who made a second pit stop did so during the safety car, a tactic that helped Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel to win the grand prix.

Following the recent 2020 tyre test with Alfa Romeo after the Austrian Grand Prix, Red Bull and Williams stay behind after the British Grand Prix for two days of testing next year's prototype tyres on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mario Isola: "The new asphalt has only been laid very recently, so it's going to be interesting to see what the effect of this will be in competition. It could make a circuit that is already fast even faster. We're nominating effectively the same compound selection as we did last year, which should be well-suited to cornering demands that are among the highest of the year, along with places like Spa and Suzuka. With the new asphalt and famously variable British weather, there will definitely be a few unknowns heading into this year's Silverstone race. This makes the exercise of data-gathering in free practice even more important than usual, in order to come up with the best strategy.

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