And we thought last year’s British Grand Prix was different...
Mercifully, fans are back this year, but Formula 1 is shaking things up for our home race with the introduction of sprint qualifying for the very first time. We’re stepping into the unknown this weekend, which only adds to the excitement of a grand prix that has never been short of the stuff. That’s not all though, McLaren HomeFest, F1’s ultimate virtual fan festival, is back. And that means, whether you can join us at the track or not, there’s going to be plenty of partying. It’s a huge weekend for McLaren, F1 and you, the fans. Here’s everything you need to know…
How to follow
|When||16 - 18 July|
|Start time||15:00 local, 09:00 EDT|
|Follow||TEAMStream and the McLaren App for exclusive commentary and insight|
What they say
“Being on the podium for the third time this season was a great feeling. It was a well-deserved result for all the hard work the entire team has put in so far this year and during an intense triple-header. Hopefully, we can carry this energy into mine and the team’s home grand prix this weekend, although we need to be realistic in what we can achieve as Silverstone is a very different track. That being said, we’ll still be trying our hardest to score as many points as possible.
“Racing at Silverstone is always a special occasion with it being my home race. Welcoming back the British fans – in the safest way possible – will be amazing to see. I’ve missed them a lot especially doing two races there last year behind closed doors. Seeing the grandstands full and everything feeling a bit more normal is something I’m really looking forward to.
“We also have the first sprint qualifying event of the season. We’ll be straight into the action on Friday with qualifying before the sprint on Saturday, so we’ll be prepared to hit the ground running. It’s something new for everyone and should make for some close and exciting racing that I’m sure the fans will enjoy!”
“This weekend sees us heading to Silverstone for the team’s home race. It’s going to be a special moment for us all as we get to see the fans back in those grandstands – it’s been a long time coming. We’ve slowly seen more and more fans back at track as the season has progressed and when it’s been safe to do so in certain countries. I think everyone has missed the noise and atmosphere that only the fans can provide.
“At the British Grand Prix we’ll try out the new sprint quali format for the first time, which will be an exciting challenge. It’ll be interesting to mix up the weekend and I’m sure it’ll provide plenty of opportunities to put us in a good position for the race on Sunday.
“After the three back-to-back races in France and Austria, I’ve taken the time to fully recharge my batteries, and spent some time at Goodwood driving Senna’s MP4-5B, which was just awesome. I’m ready to go again at Silverstone and keep pushing after a more positive weekend in Austria where I gained a bit more confidence in the car. We just need to continue to make the steps to translate those improvements into lap-time, so we can challenge for good points.”
“Following the conclusion of the first triple-header of the season, we now look forward to racing at our home grand prix this weekend. It’s great that the British Grand Prix will see a full-capacity crowd, with our fans and many team members supporting from the grandstands, while ensuring the appropriate measures are in place to keep everyone safe.
“This weekend will also see the first sprint qualifying session of the year take place. We’re looking forward to trialling the new Saturday sprint format as we continue to see the sport develop and encourage closer and exciting racing for the fans. The team has been working hard in preparation for the change to how we run a usual race weekend, with qualifying now being on Friday and a sprint race on Saturday. The format will certainly mix things up for everyone and every team will be looking to capitalise on any opportunities.
“We’ve taken the time to reset as a team after the strong result in Austria and we’re ready to go again in the fight for good points. We’re continuing to take steps forward in terms of performance by extracting the most out of our package, but we need to remain realistic about what’s achievable, stay focused and take each race at a time as we progress through the season.”
What the stats say
Lando is in a rich vein of form, having not finished outside the points so far this season. He arrives off the back of another podium in Austria and every time he’s scored a podium in F1 he’s followed up with a top-five finish – which just so happens to be where he finished in last year’s British Grand Prix.
Silverstone is a special place in Daniel’s career, as it’s where he made his F1 debut back in 2011. Since then, he’s gone on to score points in the British Grand Prix on seven occasions and stood on the rostrum in 2014.
As a team, we’ve enjoyed plenty of success over the years at our home grand prix, having won it on 14 occasions: the first in 1973 with Peter Revson behind the wheel of the M23 and the most recent in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton memorably braved the elements and saw off the opposition.
What to watch out for
OK, let’s address the elephant in the room. This weekend’s format, it’s a bit different, isn’t it? Qualifying on Friday, sprint qualifying on Saturday, grand prix on Sunday. Yep, you heard it right. F1 is mixing it up this weekend and here’s how it’s going to play out…
There will be just one practice session on Friday before qualifying. This qualifying session is the same as a normal F1 qualifying session but, instead of determining the grid for Sunday’s race, it will determine the grid for sprint qualifying which will take place on Saturday after another one-hour practice session. Sprint qualifying is a 100 km race – that’s 17 laps of Silverstone – lasting around 25-30 minutes. The finishing order will decide the grid for the grand prix and points will be awarded to the top three finishers – three for the winner down to one point for third.
A different race weekend format isn’t the only curveball for teams. While Silverstone is a high power-sensitivity circuit, similar to the Red Bull Ring a fortnight ago, it is a very different circuit layout – albeit with some very high-speed sections. Teams will race with the harder tyres, which differs from Austria where teams were at the softer end of the spectrum, and Pirelli is also introducing a new tyre construction – rear tyres with a stiffer sidewall – at Silverstone for use onwards through 2021. That’s not all as far as tyres are concerned. As part of the new race weekend format, only Soft tyres will be permitted for use in qualifying on Friday and drivers will be able to choose to start Sunday’s race on whatever compound they prefer. It all points to an intriguing weekend.
Away from the track, it’s all about McLaren HomeFest. F1’s ultimate virtual fan festival went down a storm last year and we’ve brought it back for 2021 so, even if you can’t make it to Silverstone, you can bring the British Grand Prix into your home. Just how exactly? Check out McLarenHomeFest.com and our guide for the dos and don’ts.
What to wear
By now, you should have heard about the British GP Collection that’s landed on the McLaren Store. Featuring unique styles from both Lando and Daniel, the collection boasts everything from T-shirts and hoodies to caps – all in a captivating array of colour combinations. It’s perfect for this weekend and a must-have addition to your summer wardrobe.
It’s competition time and we’ve got a humdinger for our home grand prix. We’re over the moon about the fact that thousands of you will be able to join us at the track this weekend, but we also know many of you can’t make it. So, for several hundred fans who won’t be at Silverstone, we’re running a virtual viewing experience on race day via Webex by Cisco. Enter the competition and you could be enjoying exclusive backstage access with interviews from the drivers, behind-the-scenes action from the McLaren Technology Centre, interactive polls and coverage of the race itself.
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