Vilardo: 2023 Formula 1 British Grand Prix Preview

It's one of only two races on the schedule that have been run every year in the history of F1

Posted on July 7, 2023

  By Stephen Vilardo, SWS | Dane Miller, Series Editor

The British Grand Prix is one of the crown jewels on the Formula 1 calendar.

The race in Silverstone, England, is the home Grand Prix for most of the teams, with seven of the 10 based within 70 miles of the circuit.

This weekend’s British GP is the 73rd running of the event and the 57th at Silverstone.

It is one of only two races on the schedule that have been run every year in the history of Formula 1.

I preview the British Grand Prix here and the picks of our Formula 1 writers and broadcasters appear at the bottom.

Television Schedule

Free Practice 1: Friday, 4:30 am PT, ESPNU
Free Practice 2: Friday, 8:00 am PT, ESPNU
Free Practice 3: Saturday, 3:30 am PT, ESPNU
Qualifying: Saturday, 7:00 am PT, ESPN2
Grand Prix: Sunday, 7:00 am PT, ESPN2

British Grand Prix Quick Facts

Location: Silverstone, England
Track: Silverstone Circuit
Track Type: Permanent Circuit
Turns: 18
Lap Length: 3.66 miles
Race Length: 52 laps
Fastest Lap: Max Verstappen 1:27.097 in a Red Bull, 2020
Qualifying Record: Lewis Hamilton 1:24.303 in a Mercedes, 2020
Most Wins by Constructor: 18 – Ferrari
Most Wins by a Driver: 8 – Lewis Hamilton

The circuit is very fast, free flowing, and puts a high degree of demand on the tires. With corners that are mostly medium or high speed, car setup plays an oversized role.

The teams will use high levels of downforce, which will lead to significant vertical and lateral forces acting on the tires at the same time.

The straights and braking areas are reasonably short, too, allowing the teams to run a lot of aero without too much time loss.

The tires will see the highest lateral energy loads of the season, which are very demanding on the tire compound and structure.

The succession of fast and sweeping corners load the tires with sustained forces that peak at 5g. The very high lateral loads shorten the life of the rubber and could make the one-stop strategies difficult in Britain.

On the Pirelli rating scale, both Tire Stress and Lateral Energy are at the maximum rating of five. To cope, tire maker Pirelli will bring the three hardest tires in its range.

The power circuit sees drivers on full throttle for almost 70 percent of the lap. The average lap speed of about 140 miles per hour is one of the quickest on the calendar.

Hamilton, Perez, and Leclerc battle three-wide in 2022 |

While Silverstone features similar top speeds to those seen at other power tracks, the British circuit does not favor horsepower over downforce. At least not to the extent that last week’s Red Bull Ring does.

Drivers will still require a car that is fast in a straight line—but also one with a strong aerodynamic package to cope with the high-speed corners and swift changes of direction.

Silverstone is all about lateral energy rather than traction and braking, although there are some slower and more technical parts in the Arena complex.

Consequently, some degree of compromise is needed when it comes to setup.

It’s a circuit where overtaking is definitely possible, but passing requires a lot of commitment.

Yet, the quick, high-energy corners such as the Maggotts and Becketts complex aren’t the only challenge that Silverstone has to offer: The weather can be extremely variable.

Typical for England, the weather is 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.

Zhou Guanyu escaped serious injury in his 2022 crash | Vince Mignott/MB Media

Last season, in semi-damp conditions, Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu was involved in a first-lap crash that saw him flip and careen dangerously into the fence.

So, teams will need to be prepared for anything.

It’s a track that Lewis Hamilton has been dominant at in the past, with the British driver winning seven of the last nine races.

Considering his history at Silverstone, it’s arguably fair to expect at least a podium finish from the hometown driver.

And after last year’s famous, “Through goes Hamilton!” quote from Sky Sports Broadcaster David Croft, all eyes will be on the Mercedes driver.

Speed Points

• There has been a safety car at every British GP since 2012.

• Silverstone is the second-longest track on the schedule.

• The pole-sitter has won five of the last eight British Grand Prix.

• The driver starting 2nd has won seven times in the last 16 years.

• Hamilton’s win from 6th in 2014 was the lowest start for a winner since Carlos Reutemann won from 8th in 1978.

• Lewis Hamilton has finished 1st or 2nd in nine of the last 10 races at Silverstone.

• This season, Max Verstappen has led 75.1 percent of the total laps raced.

• Verstappen has won 21 races over the last 14 months.

• For perspective on the Dutchman’s dominance: Kimi Raikkonen – a world champion – won 21 races during his 19-year career.

• Prior to his win at last year’s British Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz had scored an F1 record 638.5 points without getting a race win.

Recent Winners at the British Grand Prix

2022Carlos SainzFerrari
2021Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2020Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2019Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2018Sebastian VettelFerrari
2017Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2016Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2015Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2014Lewis HamiltonMercedes
2013Nico RosbergMercedes

Our Writers’ Race Picks

—More from Stephen Vilardo—