Preview: British Grand Prix

by Michelle Fortune , 07 July 2011

Sebastian Vettel took another step towards his second successive world title by winning at the European Grand Prix at Valencia last time but the reigning champion may not have things all his own way at Silverstone this weekend.


The ban on off-throttle diffusers comes into effect at this weekend's British Grand Prix and as a result teams cannot use the system that keeps the exhaust gases flowing under the car.

It remains to be seen if this will affect championship leaders Red Bull but the team's technical chief Adrian Newey is worried that it could hurt their chances of making it seven wins from nine races.

Silverstone is a track that suits Red Bull - the team have won the last two races at the track - and it would be interesting to see the outfit struggle because of the latest tweak to the rules.

Most teams expect Red Bull to lose some time but will it be enough to give their rivals an advantage? It would be surprising to see a big change to the result given that the alteration to the engine mapping rules did little to shake things up in Valencia.

The weather could go against Red Bull and Vettel especially if the safety car is required but it is hard to look beyond the German claiming his seventh victory of the season.

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button are pumped up heading into their home Grand Prix but they will need to improve significantly after a very disappointing outing in Valencia.

The ban on off-throttle blown diffusers should, in theory, work to McLaren's advantage and with Hamilton and Button eager to impress this could prove a race to remember.

“Compared to the others I have the feeling that there is greater potential for them to lose more,” said Hamilton regarding the diffuser ban,

“I’ve followed the Red Bulls and we have to corner with lower gears than they do to keep the revs up and keep generating exhaust airflow over the diffuser.

“They use lower revs but they are still generating the downforce, so I still hope there’s potential that they will be hurt more by the ban than we are.”

Ferrari have been making progress of late but they are still some way off the pace and it will take a mammoth effort for the Maranello outfit to have any chance of claiming the title.

"We are moving forward, as could be seen in the last three races, but now we must also confirm the progress seen at Monaco, Montreal and Valencia on a track with completely different characteristics, which is definitely more suited to our main rivals," Alonso said.

"At Silverstone, you need a lot of aerodynamic downforce and this is area where we are lagging behind."

Schedule (British and Irish time):
Practice 1 - Fri 09:00 - 10:30
Practice 2 - Fri 13:00 - 14:30
Practice 3 - Sat 10:00 - 11:00
Qualifying - Sat 13:00 - 14.00
Race - Sun 13:00

Weather

Unsurprisingly the weather will be far from ideal over the three days with bands of persistent rain forecast throughout the weekend.

There will be a relatively dry start to the weekend but this is unlikely to last with showers forecast to arrive just in time for the start of the first practice session. The rain is set to last for much of the day, although there could be a slight clearing towards the end of the afternoon session.

Saturday will start off dry and drivers might be able to get some time on the track before showers descend and there is a threat of frequent showers through the day.

Heavy clouds will develop on Sunday morning bringing with them scattered showers and this will make for a wet afternoon, although temperatures could reach 21 degrees.

 

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