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New Silverstone gets positive response

The revised Silverstone layout has received a largely positive response following its F1 debut on Friday.
A bump where the new section of circuit joins the old at Silverstone appears to be the only major concern for the drivers after a day of practice ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The spot caught more than a few out during the two 90-minute sessions on Friday but, otherwise, the revised layout, and Arena section that links Abbey to the complex in front of the BRDC suite, received a largely positive reaction from drivers and team bosses.

"I think they are fine with it," Mercedes' Ross Brawn told journalists at the end of the day, "There is a bit of an issue with the bumps adjoining the old and new circuit, which brings a bit of a challenge, but they are fine with it and I think it hasn't taken anything away from the great character of Silverstone. I am not sure if it has added a lot but, certainly, they are pleased with it and there is nothing strange."

Brawn's senior driver, however, was a little more reserved, picking out another 'problem' with the new section.

"The new part of the circuit is certainly interesting - it's very fluid and fast, but there is no overtaking possibility which is a bit of pity for me," Michael Schumacher pointed out, "The bump at Abbey is tricky, a lot of the drivers had to really work their steering wheel, so it is likely that this will be discussed more deeply in the drivers briefing today.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner shared Brawn's opinion that the changes had not made the circuit 'better or worse', but lamented the loss of one of its predecessor's signature corners.

"I think it is an interesting addition to the track," he commented, "It puts the track close to six kilometres, which is a very long lap now, and I think the only thing the circuit has given away is Bridge, which was a real challenge for the drivers.

"But [the Arena section] has got a different characteristic, [and] adds a different dimension to the track. It puts an added emphasis on slow speed performance rather than just high speed predominance. There is a big bump through Abbey, which is a little bit tricky, but it is the same for everyone. It's different - not necessarily better or worse, but just different, an added challenge."

McLaren's Jenson Button was clearly in favour, putting the new circuit 'up there with the best in the world, like Spa and Suzuka', while team-mate Lewis Hamilton was equally positive about the changes.

"The new section is very fast and flowing, and I don't think it interrupts your rhythm too much," he reported, "It still feels a little weird turning right at Abbey rather than left though!"

Only Heikki Kovalainen appeared misty-eyed for the previous layout.

"The new layout is nothing like the old circuit – now it feels like it's pretty straightforward," he noted, "It's quite bumpy, and the corners are pretty simple - not like the old circuit where you got on the throttle and could find a really good line through the corners. I have no problem with the circuit, I just preferred the old one.”



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