1. Mercedes brings the upgrades 

After some confusion surrounding Mercedes’ F1 development plans for 2021 versus 2022, the team has confirmed that it will be introducing a small upgrade for this weekend’s British Grand Prix. 

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has described the team’s upgrade as “quite exciting”. 

The updates are expected to be the final ones added to this year’s W12, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealing at the Austrian GP that the team is not conducting any wind tunnel work on its 2021 car.

The reigning world champion’s development focus has already shifted onto the 2022 rules revolution and an all-new car that is set to be revealed in full-size for the first time on Thursday at Silverstone.

While Wolff was keen to play down the size of the update and its potential performance gains, Mercedes will be desperately hoping it can help swing the title race momentum back into its favour after a run of five consecutive defeats to Red Bull. 

Mercedes subsequently heads into this weekend’s 10th round of the season trailing Red Bull by 44 points, while Lewis Hamilton is 32 adrift of championship leader Verstappen. 

The British GP could end up being a major turning point in this year’s championship fight.

2. F1 gets experimental 

This weekend will also mark the first try out of F1’s experimental new sprint race format - dubbed ‘sprint qualifying’ - that will make its debut at Silverstone. 

It will be the first time that F1 has ever had a second race on the same weekend as a grand prix, with the 100km sprint race determining the grid for Sunday’s showpiece event. 

The shake-up to the traditional weekend format sees qualifying move to Friday evening to set the order for Saturday’s sprint race, which will in turn decide how the grid lines up for the British GP on Sunday. 

Three points will be on offer for the top three finishers, while the winner will be officially credited with pole position. 

There is uncertainty over what type of spectacle the sprint race will produce, with some teams expecting a cautious approach from their drivers, while F1 chief Ross Brawn is confident the new format will induce flat-out, exciting action. 

Fans will get to make their own mind up this weekend as F1 boldly goes into the unknown. 

3. Can Norris mix it up at the front again? 

Lando Norris continued his outstanding start to the season last time out in Austria as he scored his third podium of the year with his latest strong showing for McLaren. 

Norris is the only driver to have scored points in each of the opening nine races of 2021 and heads into his home race at the British GP sitting a remarkable fourth in the championship, having already surpassed his total points tally from last season in eight fewer races. 

The 21-year-old mixed it up at the front of the grid alongside Verstappen and Hamilton and held his own against 2021’s title protagonists. He fended off Hamilton’s attacks for 20 laps in the opening stint and ended up passing the seven-time world champion in the closing stages as Hamilton faded with a damaged car. 

Norris’ performance across the two Austrian rounds highlighted the rate of McLaren’s progress and underlined the MCL35M’s all-round strengths, including impressive straight line speed. 

McLaren remains realistic over its British GP prospects despite and does not expect to be fighting it out with Mercedes and Red Bull again. 

But considering Norris’ form, you wouldn’t rule it out. 

4. New Pirelli tyres add to uncertainty 

F1’s official tyre supplier is bringing a new, more robust construction of the rear C4 compound to this weekend’s British GP. 

This came after positive feedback to tests carried out in Austria and is a response to the high-speed blowouts Verstappen and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll suffered at last month’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. 

Pirelli’s new construction, coupled with parc ferme conditions coming into effect ahead of Friday qualifying amid a new weekend format, will provide the teams with an additional headache over how to set-up their cars following just one hour of practice. 

The Italian manufacturer will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the series of dramatic punctures that overshadowed last year’s British GP around the ultra-high-speed Silverstone track that is always a tough test for tyres. 

5. F1’s coming home - to a full house

Silverstone has been given the green light to operate at a full capacity, meaning around 140,000 spectators will be welcomed for the British GP on race after last year’s pair of events were held behind closed doors. 

As a result, the vast open-air venue in Northamptonshire is set to play host to the largest crowd for a sporting event in the UK since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The news will come as a boost for Hamilton, who will be backed by extra support in his bid to strike back against Verstappen in the title fight.