Silverstone’s Fiftieth

This weekend Formula One heads to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. This year is the fiftieth time that the Silverstone Circuit will have hosted the British Grand Prix.

The First

On 13th May 1950 the circuit had the honour of hosting the first Grand Prix of the Formula One era.

Qualifying for the 1950 edition saw four factory Alfa Romeo’s take the first four positions on the grid. Briton’s Reg Parnell was one of them, placing his Alfa in fourth behind teammates Juan Manuel Fangio (third), Luigi Fagioli (second) and Giuseppe Farina (pole position).

With Fangio’s Alfa suffering an oil leak during the race, Parnell was able to finish third behind Alfa teammates Fagioli (second) and Farina (first).

The next four years saw Ferrari take victory at Silverstone. Two by Italian Alberto Ascari (1952 and 1953) and the other two by Argentine, José Froilán González (1951 and 1954).

RAF_Silverstone_1945
This image, released into the public domain, shows the Silverstone site in 1945. You can see the basic track layout that would be used for the first two British Grand Prix of 1950 and 1951.

Alternating

From 1955 up to 1962 Silverstone alternated hosting the British Grand Prix with Aintree.

During this time Silverstone hosted the Grand Prix three times (1956, 1958 and 1960). This period saw Peter Collins become the first Briton to win at Silverstone, which he achieved in 1958 with Ferrari.

From 1963 up to 1986 Silverstone continued to alternate hosting the Grand Prix, but with Brands Hatch instead.

Permanent

Since 1987 Silverstone has become the permanent home of the British Grand Prix.

It has however come under threat multiple times, an example being around 2009 when the Grand Prix was due to switch to Donington Park.

Configurations

Silverstone_GPmap_2010
This image, released into the public domain, shows the current configuration of the Silverstone Circuit used by Formula One.

There have been at least three major configuration changes to the circuit since it hosted the first Formula One race in 1950. The most recent of these changes is the new ‘Arena’ complex which was first used in the 2010 Grand Prix.

Winners

Peter Collins was the first and Lewis Hamilton is the most recent of Britons to have won at Silverstone. Overall the circuit has seen a Briton stand on the top step eighteen out of the current forty nine races that have been held on it. Those eighteen victories at Silverstone have been claimed by ten different British drivers.

British Driver wins at Silverstone
A breakdown of which British drivers have won at Silverstone and how many times they have claimed victory at the circuit.

Britain isn’t the only nation to have seen a driver of theirs to take the top step of the podium. There have been a further twelve nations to have seen their driver or drivers claim victory at Silverstone.

Other Nations wins at Silverstone
A breakdown of other nations to have seen a driver of theirs claim victory at Silverstone.

With the data from these two graphs it means that, rounding up, 37% of the British Grand Prix to have been hosted at Silverstone has seen a Briton claim victory.

Whatever happens during the weekend, whether we see another British win or not, Silverstone has been fantastic for Formula One and long may it continue.

 

 

 

 

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