Silverstone has long been considered the temple of speed given the high average lap times set there. This tag was accurate until the introduction of modifications that have, sensibly, lowered speeds. Since the beginning of the 1990s the measures taken to improve driver safety at Silverstone have, in fact, detracted from it a little.
The current circuit is semi-fast with lots of chicanes; it lacks the wide curves of the old Silverstone that could be negotiated flat out in sixth. One concession is that there are no slow, first-gear chicanes; indeed some curves – Maggots and Becketts – are tricky and bring out the best in drivers. On a technical level, the track remains a difficult one to race, mainly due to the number of fast curves it includes.
The curve at Stowe, for example, tests to the limit the mechanics of the car as well as driver ability. The right-hand Stowe, in fact, is a good overtaking point. Other stretches of the circuit also bring out the drivers’ skill: one is the Club curve, taken under acceleration and using the whole of the track.
Also demanding is Bridge, a blind right turn that leads into the ‘Complex’, a slow, mixed stretch modified in 1994 under the direction of Damon Hill.