Jul 16 2017

Formula One 2017: Silverstone

You may only have until 2019 to enjoy the big muddy. Silverstone has activated its option to stop hosting Formula One which is in my opinion a big mistake. It may be true enough that the economics are impossible for the track ownership and it is for sure that none of the spectators are inclined to pay more for tickets to what is a dusty heat blasted pit when it’s not a boot sucking swamp.

And it may be that Liberty Media, the new owners of Formula One, are more inclined than the unlamented skinflint asshole Bernie Ecclestone to cut a deal, but it is equally true that Silverstone is already subsidized.

The problem for Formula One and the British Grand Prix is that there’s no other site to host it. Sure London gets bandied about but that’s no more possible than running up Riverside Drive and down the FDR, a traffic nightmare of epic proportions.

Probably this is hard bargaining of the Brexit type.

Making an appearance in Practice this week is another design for the ugly and stunningly ineffective windscreen which is scientifically proven to be totally useless in the two examples of accidents cited to justify its necessity, the Massa spring incident (nice by the way to see that he’s competitive and regularly scoring points again) and Jules Bianchi’s fatality at Suzuka (if you drive under a crane at 200 mph a plastic windscreen isn’t going to save you any more than an M1 Abrams would). What was demonstrated by the cockpit cameras is how much visual distortion is introduced, with drivers barely able to see all the way to the end of a straight.

This is the week Bottas has gearbox problems and a 5 grid penalty. Ricciardo had mechanical problems in Qualifying and starts dead last. Raikkonen and Vettel eat Hamilton’s dust at the start.

In keeping with its reputation, Silverstone was wet for Qualifying though most teams attempted it on the Super Softs. If there is sufficient damp at the start to build enough margin for a pit stop using Intermediates before they turn to dust at least some teams will attempt it to free themselves from tire restrictions. The alternate dry compounds are Soft and Medium.

Coverage starts at 7:30 am ET on CNBC

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