Jenson Button has promised that the new Silverstone F1 layout will provide plenty of action this season, and has insisted that the opening of the 'Silverstone Wing' cements the circuit's place as one of the best on the calendar.
Although the revised circuit layout was used for the first time last season, the opening of the new pit and paddock complex earlier this week will see the start of the British Grand Prix moved from its current location to the new Wing complex located between Club and Abbey.
It means the start of the race will see the F1 field blast through Abbey into the Arena section of the circuit, which is likely to be the scene of a number of early moves for position.
“For us, as drivers, the most exciting thing is the new turn one - having a flat-out first two corners is going to make for great racing,” McLaren ace Button told the assembled media during the launch of the 'Wing'. “Turn three is going to be interesting. I think it is the first time we will have been down there with 24 cars nose to tail – so it is something we will have to get our heads around. It is very, very tight – and I think you will see some good overtaking moves. I think you will get a queue of cars up the inside, and it will be who is brave enough to go around the outside to make up a few places. It is a nice change.
“Here normally you go through [the old] turn one and the cars separate all through Becketts, as it is very difficult to follow, so down Hangar Straight, there is minimal overtaking. But now, having such a sharp turn three from full speed corners where we shouldn't have to lift even if we are in the traffic, is good. You will see a lot of action – and F1 this year has been full of action and long may it continue.”
The opening of Silvestone's new pit and paddock complex in the latest stage of the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Northamptonshire circuit and Button said the ongoing work was helping to cement its position as one of the best circuits in the world.
“This is what the circuit needed, and I think to stay as the best circuit in the world it needed something like this,” he said. “Silverstone has always been, for me, one of the best circuits I have ever driven. It is very fast, it is very flowing – and I put it up there with Spa and Suzuka, which are circuits that have been around for a long time.
“This circuit has always been stand-out in terms of one of the best circuits in the world for racing and really, especially with an F1 car, pushing it to the limit around here there is nothing like it. Through Becketts, the change of direction is phenomenal. Braking into Stowe, while you are turning in, that is something that you don't get on many circuits.
“The facilities have been good in the past, but with all the new circuits arriving like Abu Dhabi and other places, that have great facilities, you could say that maybe it was a little bit tired and it was time for improvements. And they have definitely come on since I started in F1. This facility is outstanding – and this takes it up to being the best circuit in the world in terms of race circuit and facilities. I think the whole of the United Kingdom, especially as a fan of motor racing, you should be very proud of this place.
“The Italians have got Monza, and they are very passionate about their motorsport. But we are the same here – if not more. So it is great that we can keep improving this place.”