Silverstone ready for F1 British Grand Prix

25th June 2013

Officials at Silverstone are busy putting the final touches to the world-famous Northamptonshire circuit before the F1 roadshow rolls into town this weekend, with race day taking place on Sunday (June 30th).

While Monaco and Monza tend to steal the crown for the most idyllic Grand Prix settings, Silverstone is always a special date on the calendar because many of the teams are based close to the track and consider it a "home race".

It has been five years since a Briton took the chequered flag at Silverstone, with Lewis Hamilton bringing home his McLaren in first place, and hundreds of thousands of spectators will be gathering to see if the Mercedes driver can repeat his 2008 heroics.

Here are five things to keep an eye out for this weekend:

Silverstone's history

Silverstone first hosted the British Grand Prix back in 1948, but it wasn't until 1987 that the venue was used as a permanent home, after a period of rotation which also involved Aintree and Brands Hatch.

The road to this year's race has not always run smoothly – in 2004 British Racing Drivers' Club president Jackie Stewart said that if the British Grand Prix was to take place in 2005 then it probably would not be at the Northamptonshire circuit. A deal was then agreed with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone to stage races at the track until 2009 before Donnington Park took over, however financial issues among its leaseholders led to a 17-year deal agreement being signed for the Grand Prix to remain at Silverstone.

Will we see a British winner?

As mentioned previously, you have to go back to 2008 to find the last British winner of their home Grand Prix. Before that David Coulthard won two-in-a-row in 1999 and 2000, but the recent past has been dominated by the likes of Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.

Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert have all won this famous race since 1991, but what odds on a British winner this year?

Hamilton is best-placed to take the chequered flag as his Mercedes continues to improve race-by-race. Impressive qualifying times have not quite been matched by race pace, with Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso's form looking ominous.

Jenson Button's McLaren is underperforming, while Paul Di Resta could hope for a podium finish. Elsewhere, Max Chilton will take great pride in finishing the race in his Marussia.

Silverstone to decide the title?

With Silverstone being the eighth Grand Prix of the season, there is still plenty to play for. However, Vettel has built up a 36-point lead ahead of Alonso at the top of the drivers' standings, with Kimi Raikkonen a further eight points behind.

While it would be a brave call to say that a win for Vettel would go a long way to helping him deliver another world title for Red Bull, the German could start to put some daylight between himself and his nearest Ferrari challenger.

Hamilton and Raikkonen could also do with a good haul of points this weekend if they are to stay interested in the title race.

New Pirelli tyres at Silverstone?

Tyres have been the buzzword this season, with some claiming that the degradation and management of the Pirellis is taking away from the racing elements.

Add to that Mercedes' naughty testing session, which led to a reprimand by the FIA and dissatisfaction from Ferrari and McLaren, and then you have a nice little sub-plot for this weekend.

Pirelli is working on new tyres for F1 and some teams tried these out during free practice sessions at the Canadian Grand Prix, however it was confirmed earlier this month that they would not be made available for racing at the British Grand Prix.

The new specification has replaced an inner steel belt with a Kevlar one to prevent delamination, and it remains to be seen when these will be used on race day.

Tickets are still available

Tickets for this weekend's flagship race are still available and it has been confirmed that fans will be able to buy them on the gate.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, a spokesperson said: "We are still anticipating a large crowd although it will not be as big a Sunday crowd as we had here in 2011 and 2012.

"For best prices we still encourage people to book directly with us as we are still selling through our call centre and on the web until noon on Thursday of this week."

Posted by The British Grand Prix is coming to town, with Silverstone hosting race day on Sunday.