British GP Preview – Wolff: “We’re aiming to make another step forward”

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Mercedes released the 2022 British Grand Prix preview featuring comments from team boss Toto Wolff. You can read the full preview below!

“Canada was our fifth podium of the season, and we were happy to collect solid points,” Wolff said.

“While we can be pleased with the flashes of speed that the W13 showed, there’s still a mountain to climb. A lot of work is needed to get to the front, but we have a clearer direction now. We’re focused on finding more and more performance as the season progresses.

“Silverstone is next, and it’s always a highlight of the year. The fans are so passionate and knowledgeable. It’s also our local event, with Brackley and Brixworth close by. Our team members will be trackside on Friday watching from the stands and seeing the results of their hard work in action, which is incredibly exciting!

“We know the top two teams have a considerable advantage. Our challenge is to close that gap. Silverstone has been good to us in the past; we have some improvements coming; and it’s a smoother track.

“We’re aiming to make another step forward,” the Austrian concluded.

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Fact File: British Grand Prix

  • At 5.891km, the Silverstone Circuit is the fourth-longest on the F1 calendar and only Spa-Francorchamps (7.004km), Baku (6.003km) and Jeddah (6.174km) are longer.
  • Silverstone’s track layout is legendary and very tough on tyres, especially on left-front tyres which have huge loads imposed on them in Turns 1, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15. Suzuka, which will be back on the calendar later this year in early October, puts even greater demands on tyres but distributes the loads equally to all four tyres, as it is the only track on the calendar in the shape of a figure eight. At Silverstone, putting down the car’s energy is firmly focused on near side tyres.
  • Brake pads are not put under any great strain around Silverstone’s fast, flowing corners, so the teams like to turn down cooling to the brakes, which is useful for the car’s aerodynamics. However, it can cause problems on the formation lap and behind the safety car when driving at low speeds – we’ve seen brakes catch fire here in the past!
  • Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel – Silverstone boasts some of the most iconic names for corners in the whole of motorsport, and it is one of only three tracks in F1 where engineers give names to the corners and not numbers, the other two being Spa-Francorchamps and Monaco.
  • Silverstone is a high-speed circuit where teams aim to reduce drag as much as possible. For this reason, we’ll see similar wing settings as those used in Baku and Montreal.
  • Cars usually achieve the highest average corner speeds of the year at Silverstone, but that can change from year to year depending on conditions, putting Silverstone in the same bracket as Suzuka.
  • Conditions at Silverstone are notoriously windy and changes in wind direction happen quite frequently. That can have a major impact on vehicle balance and completely change the car’s behaviour, forcing drivers to adjust driving style accordingly in terms of braking points, speed as they approach the apex of turns and acceleration as they exit.
  • Silverstone is the only track on the calendar where drivers will have taken two turns before hitting the brakes for the first time at Village (Turn 3), so the distance from pole position to the first braking zone is some 644 metres. With full tanks at the race start, however, the drivers have to lift after just 225 metres, which creates a bunching-up effect. The opening tussle at Silverstone often continues until Turn 6 and in some cases even further to Copse (T9), which is far more drawn out than on most circuits.
  • Drivers complete almost 81% of a lap at full throttle at Silverstone, the third-highest percentage seen so far this season after Australia and Saudi Arabia.
  • The famous combination of turns made up of Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel is in quali trim taken at full throttle, with only Turn 13 requiring some light application of the brakes, to shift the load onto the front axle and help steer into the corner.
  • That results in tremendous amounts of g-forces being applied to both drivers and cars on this stretch of track. First, there’s a 2g left-hander followed by a 5g right turn, a 5g left turn and a 4g right turn, and finally, a 3g left turn.
  • Drivers experience some of the highest lateral g-forces of the season at Silverstone with a maximum of 5.2g at Stowe (Turn 15). To give you some idea of what that means, the average weight of a human head with a helmet is 7kg, so the driver’s neck is being pulled from side to side with a force of 35kg at this point.
  • Silverstone is a home race for the team. The Brackley factory is a mere nine miles away and the home of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains at Brixworth is just over 20 miles from the track.
  • This can be an advantage when there is a threat of rain, because experienced observers in the Race Support Room at Brackley (wind from the SW) or the Trackside Support Office at Brixworth (wind from the NE) can warn about its intensity and the effect this has on tyre choice.
  • Although England has a generally temperate climate, the Silverstone weekend often bucks the trend and regularly features among the top three or four hottest races of the year in terms of air temperature.

Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team

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