The British Grand Prix held at Silverstone each year is one of the most prestigious events dedicated to motorsports in the UK. If you are a fan of motor racing or are just drawn to the high adrenaline and glamour of the event, you won’t be disappointed by the visit.
The Circuit’s History
The circuit is based near the village of Silverstone in Northamptonshire and it is one of the oldest continuously staged Grand Prix events in the world. Silverstone hosted its first international Grand Prix in 1948, and because of this, it then became home to the first ever Formula One Championship in 1950. That year, Guiseppe Farina won for the Alfa Romeo team and in 2016, Lewis Hamilton claimed his third successive home trophy for Mercedes.
Over the years, the circuit and infrastructure at Silverstone have gradually been improved, and as it stands now, the track boasts world class facilities. In recent years, more than £50 million has been spent upgrading the circuit and in 2012 two new grandstands were added, seating a capacity of 3,500 people.
The circuit also has its own campsite, which many visitors use over the course of the weekend whilst the track days take place. The good news for fans is that even if you aren’t in one of the grandstands, the 24 giant screens positioned around the track ensure you are unlikely to miss any of the action.
The track at Silverstone is 3.66 miles long and drivers compete over 52 laps, completing in total over 190 miles during the race. The lap record in a Grand Prix was set by Fernando Alonso in 2012, although Lewis Hamilton holds the fastest lap time, a second faster, but this was completed only in qualifying in 2013. The fastest corner is known as “Maggots” and drivers often take the bend at 188 mph experiencing almost 4.5g of force.
The Scale of the Operation
Over Grand Prix weekend there are around 900 volunteer marshalls on site whose responsibilities focus on spectators, incidents, and flags. There are also vast numbers of people on duty including track personnel; incident officers; pit marshalls; medical staff; and those taking care of hospitality in all its different forms.
The food and drink brought into Silverstone before Grand Prix weekend is estimated at around 20,000 bottles of mineral water, 10,000 bottles of wine and 6,000 bottles of champagne. As well as a variety of food outlets around the track, there is also hospitality offered at both the Brooklands and Woodcote Suites.
Besides those who camp at the site, it’s estimated that over 9,000 hotel beds are booked across Northamptonshire over the weekend of the Grand Prix, boosting the local economy.
Medical preparedness and safety is taken seriously at any Grand Prix event and the governing body of motorsport always looks to make improvements to keep the drivers as safe as possible in what is considered one of the most dangerous sports in the world. A huge medical team is always on hand including doctors, paramedics, nurses and radiographers.
Getting to Silverstone
If you are traveling by car, you can approach Silverstone from both the M1 and M40 and both are signed well. A three-day parking pass starts at £65. If you want to get to the track by rail, you will need to travel to the mainline stations of Northampton, Banbury or Milton Keynes and then take a bus or taxi to the circuit.
On F1 weekends it is best to be aware that the whole location gets hugely congested and there can be long queues at both arrival and departure times. If you want to avoid all that stress why not arrive and leave by air via a chartered helicopter flight.
Are You Ready for 2017?
If you are a seasoned F1 fan and you have never made it to Silverstone, maybe 2017 is the year for you. Tickets have already gone on sale and it’s vital to book early if you want to avoid disappointment. As well as purchasing tickets to the event it’s important to consider how you will travel and where you will stay, as accommodation will be pre-booked around a year in advance, so get thinking now!
The great thing about the Grand Prix weekend is that even if you can’t make race day on the Sunday, there are still opportunities to watch the practice laps and qualifying events on the Friday and Saturday and both are just as exhilarating as the race itself. However, if you are lucky enough to make it on the Sunday you will experience the thrill first-hand of seeing who lifts the trophy.