F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given the green light for Silverstone to stage the 2010 British Grand Prix on a Populous-designed revised circuit layout
The Northamptonshire track won back the staging rights to the race in December after a proposed switch to Donington Park fell through, by which time a £5million facelift was already well under way.
The new ‘Arena’ circuit was originally designed to comply with MotoGP regulations, with the motorcycling series making the switch to Silverstone later this year, but today’s seal of approval from Ecclestone’s Formula One Management company means F1 cars will also use the new layout.
Officials hope the new section - which will increase the circuit length by 760 metres and add around four seconds to current the lap time - will create three new overtaking opportunities.
Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: ‘The new sections of circuit were initially brought in to comply with MotoGP safety regulations, but the “Arena Complex” was always designed with both two- and four-wheeled racing in mind.
‘The main change the new Arena circuit will offer begins at Abbey corner, where instead of heading into Farm, Bridge and Priory, competitors will now tackle a new infield complex. The circuit then joins the National Straight before returning to the original Grand Prix circuit at Brooklands.’
Silverstone has been routinely criticised by Ecclestone in recent years for the quality of its spectator facilities, and this is an area the circuit’s owners have sought to address, with new elevated viewing banks under construction and existing grandstands set to be moved to bring fans closer to the action
A new pit and paddock complex is scheduled to be completed by summer 2011, which will feature new garages, a race control building, media centre, hospitality and VIP spectator zones.
John Rhodes, associate principal at Populous, said: ‘We are delighted with today’s announcement that Formula One Management has approved the Silverstone track for the 2010 British Grand Prix. As the track designers our focus was to capture the essence and tradition of Silverstone but give it a new exciting dimension and provide a challenging circuit for the drivers.
‘We have designed it with fans in mind and they can now get closer to the action.’