The British Grand Prix is under way in the conclusion to the European triple-header. This year three British drivers will be hoping to take the win on their home soil at the iconic Silverstone Circuit. The contingent will be joined by a fourth driver in 2025, with Haas announcing the signing of Oliver Bearman ahead of the grand prix weekend. 

Silverstone is the home of the British Grand Prix and is one of the most iconic tracks in F1 history. The circuit has been the permanent host of the event since 1987 but had previously shared hosting duties with Aintree and Brands Hatch. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Silverstone Circuit:  

Quick facts about the Silverstone Circuit

  • Year opened: 1948 

  • First championship race: 13 May 1950 

  • Location: Silverstone, Northamptonshire, Great Britain 

  • Circuit length: 3.66 miles (5.891km) 

  • Laps: 52 

  • Race length: 190.263 miles (306.198km) 

Silverstone Circuit history

The Silverstone Circuit was built on the site of the Royal Air Force bomber station, which was operational between 1943 and 1946 – during World War Two. The Northamptonshire track still features parts of the three runways in the classic WW2 triangle format, where the Wellington bombers would take flight. 

Following the end of the war, the airbase was quickly turned into a track by the Royal Automobile Club and Silverstone Circuit was officially opened in 1948. The circuit hosted the inaugural Formula 1 world championship race in 1950, which was won by Giuseppe Farina – who that year claimed the world championship. 

The circuit has hosted 57 British grands prix over the last 74 years, and also hosted the 2020 70th Anniversary GP. The track has faced significant changes since it opened, with the first changes coming in 1975. The Woodcote bend was modified to include a chicane to reduce speeds, after Jody Scheckter lost control of his McLaren on the corner, resulting in nearly a dozen cars being taken out of the race. 
Ayrton Senna, McLaren receives a lift back to the pits from Nigel Mansell, Williams FW14 Renault

Ayrton Senna, McLaren receives a lift back to the pits from Nigel Mansell, Williams FW14 Renault

Photo by: Motorsport Images

The track had a few minor changes in the following years, but a more distinct remodel came in 1991. This saw the introduction of Maggotts, Becketts and the Chapel Curve between Turns 10-14.  

Corpse, Priory, Brooklands and Luffield were redesigned in 1997-1998, while the last big change came in 2010-2011 when an infield arena was added to the track. This saw the removal of the Farm Straight, Bridge and Priory. A new pitlane and paddock was constructed, and the start/finish straight was moved between the Club and Abbey corners.  

What are the Silverstone Circuit corners called

Each of Silverstone’s 18 corners has a unique name, which helps encapsulate the history of the local area and its racing history. There are also three straights on the circuit which also have been named. Here’s everything you need to know about the names of the Silverstone Circuits corners and straights:  

Hamilton Straight 

Drivers will line up on the grid on the start/finish straight, which was introduced into the circuit in 2011. In 2020 it was renamed the Hamilton Straight after Sir Lewis Hamilton – the most successful British Formula 1 driver. 

Turn 1 – Abbey 

The first turn is named after Luffield Abbey, the remains of which were found in the northeast of the track.  

Turn 2 – Farm 

The second curve was introduced in 2010 and drivers will continue to accelerate as they head for the third corner. Farm is unsurprisingly named after a nearby farm which it used to pass by. Drivers leaving the pits will also feed out onto the Farm curve. 

Turn 3 – Village  

Village was also introduced as part of the 2010 redevelopment and is the first braking zone on the track. The turn is a tight right-hander but can also provide a great spot for overtaking. Its name is a tribute to the nearby Silverstone village – the track’s namesake. 

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, with sensor rig attached

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38, with sensor rig attached

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

Turn 4 – The Loop 

The fourth turn, known as The Loop, is the slowest corner on the Silverstone Circuit. It is a sharp left-hand hairpin, with a quick exit being crucial for the oncoming straight. 

Turn 5 – Aintree 

The fifth turn pays tribute to the Aintree Circuit – which is now known for the Grand National horse race – that was also home to the British Grand Prix in the mid-1950s to early 1960s. After leaving the fourth turn, drivers will accelerate into the fifth curve as they head into the straight. 

Wellington Straight 

The Wellington Straight is the first of the two DRS zones on the Silverstone Circuit. It is built on one of the former WW2 runways and so pays homage to the Wellington bombers which flew in and out of the RAF base.   

Turn 6 – Brooklands  

Both ends of the Wellington Straight are flagged with tributes for former British Grand Prix circuits. The sixth turn is named Brooklands after the circuit near Weybridge in Surrey, which hosted grand prix races between 1926 and 1939, before the start of the world championship. 

Turn 7 – Luffield 

The seventh turn also pays tribute to Luffield Abbey – the 12th-century priory which was found on site. Luffield was added to the circuit in 1991, replacing Bridge at the end of the Farm straight. 

Turn 8 – Woodcote 

Woodcote is named after the Surrey stately home Woodcote Park, which is owned by the Royal Automobile Club. The RAC were pivotal in organising races on the Silverstone Circuit and also played a part in naming some of the track’s iconic corners.  

Turn 9 – Copse 

Copse is named after the surrounding Chapel Copse and Cheese Copse fields and woodlands. Drivers will attempt to take the curve flat out and build speed. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B just before they come together

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B just before they come together

Photo by: Sutton Images

Turns 10-14 – Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel 

The Turns 10-14 sequence is one of the most iconic in Formula 1. Maggotts pays tribute to the nearby Maggot Moor. Becketts and Chapel pay tribute to the chapel of St Thomas à Beckett, which was demolished in 1943 so that the airfield could be built. 

Hangar Straight 

The Hangar Straight is another part of the circuit which pays tribute to Silverstone’s military history. It is the second DRS zone and offers drivers a place to overtake into Stowe. The name comes from the military hangars which once stood on the site and housed the RAF’s planes. 

Turn 15 – Stowe 

Stowe has always been one of the most challenging corners of the Silverstone Circuit, despite multiple changes over the years. This corner pays tribute to the nearby Stowe School, a private school based south of the track. 

Turn 16 – Vale  

The origin of the name of Vale Corner is still greatly contested with many saying it is related to the undulating track between Stowe and Club. It is thought the name is a shorter reference for Valley, however, some claim it pays tribute to the district of Aylesbury Vale. 

Turns 17-18 – Club 

The final corners as you head back into the Hamilton Straight are named Club as a tribute to the RAC’s clubhouse – which is based in Pall Mall, London.