The Silverstone race circuit in Formula One is much like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field in Major League Baseball in terms of history. The British Grand Prix is run at Silverstone on Sunday, but the race might not be much longer for that location.
The first official Formula One Grand Prix was held at Silverstone’s disused World War II Royal Air Force bomber station in 1950. It was won by Guiseppe Farina in an Alfa Romeo. The race has moved around a few times since then but has been held at Silverstone exclusively since 1987 and it will be 51st time that Silverstone hosts the British Grand Prix overall.
And the 2019 race might be the last there.
Owners of the Northampton circuit this week activated an opt-out clause in their contract that will end the venue's tenure as host of the British Grand Prix beyond 2019. As usual, it’s all about money. The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), which owns the circuit, says it can’t afford to keep hosting the race unless a new deal is agreed with Formula One’s new ownership. This is a fairly common problem for tracks in F1 as it is exorbitantly expensive to host a race. BDRC officials claim that even when their race sells out they lose money (reportedly more than $6 million last year).
London mayor Sadiq Khan already has taken advantage of the possibility by saying he is interested in holding the British Grand Prix in the capital on a street track. A London Grand Prix would have huge appeal for F1's new owners Liberty Media, no question about it. New F1 chairman Chase Carey has revealed his desire to add more street races to the calendar.
Hamilton Looks To Four-Peat
I wrote my first F1 preview of the year last week in Austria and didn’t back favored Lewis Hamilton but instead his Team Mercedes at -225. Not exactly going out on a limb, I know, but it was a winner as Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas got his first victory of the year and second career. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was a close second and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo took the third step on the podium.
Hamilton was a hugely disappointing fourth – his second straight non-podium finish. That’s newsworthy as it’s the first time it has happened for Hamilton since March 2014. Neither this time were his fault but due to technical issues (unscheduled pit to fix headrest and gearbox change). Vettel now leads the points standings by 20 over Hamilton (171-151), with Bottas third (136) and Ricciardo fourth (107).
The Silverstone circuit is 3.7 miles long and the race is 52 laps. The British Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix are the only two races to have appeared in every round of Formula One since it began 67 years ago.
The fastest lap in British Grand Prix history was 1:33.401 by Mark Webber in 2013. Hamilton is the three-time defending champion in his native country – the first to win this race three years in a row at Silverstone. He started on the pole and finished last year in a time of 1:34:55.831, more than eight seconds ahead of Max Verstappen.
Hamilton also won the race in 2008, and his four British Grand Prix titles are behind only the five of Jim Clark and Alain Prost. Hamilton could equal the record for most consecutive wins in a home race on Sunday. Clark and Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina) are the only ones to do so. Hamilton is a -125 favorite at 5Dimes. Mercedes is -275 on the team prop.
Vettel, like Hamilton, has won three races this season and will be looking for Ferrari`s first victory in Britain since Fernando Alonso in 2011. Ferrari has the most constructor wins in the race with 15. Vettel’s only win at Silverstone was the third of his career, coming in 2009. He finished ninth last year. Vettel is +250 to win Sunday and Ferrari is +200.Free F1 Pick: Hamilton -125Best Line Offered: 5Dimes