With British drivers and teams riding the crest of a wave in Formula One, GP2 and GP3, world motor sport returns to the UK for this weekend’s British Grand Prix – the 50th held at Silverstone, which hosted the very first F1 world championship round in 1950.
Having won four of the opening eight rounds of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship, Lewis Hamilton is locked in a thrilling title duel with his Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team-mate Nico Rosberg. Hamilton, the 2008 champion, is one of ten British drivers to have won circuit racing’s ultimate honour – a number no other nation comes close to rivalling.
McLaren Mercedes’ Jenson Button is another Briton to have savoured world championship glory – the Englishman won the title in 2009 and, with 257 grands prix under his belt, is the most experienced driver on the current grid.
Max Chilton is the third British F1 driver in action at Silverstone. He continues to make progress for the improving Marussia F1 Team and, remarkably, has finished all but one of his 27 grands prix so far.
Silverstone is also the home race for no fewer than eight of the 11 F1 teams. Emphasising the UK’s position at the forefront of F1, UK-based outfits have dominated this year’s world championship, with Blackley, Northamptonshire’s Mercedes AMG Petronas and Red Bull Racing, sited in Milton Keynes, sharing all eight victories to date.
Indeed with McLaren Mercedes, Sahara Force India F1 Team and Williams Martini Racing also posting top three finishes in 2014, only one of the 24 podium finishers so far has been a driver from a team headquartered overseas.
There is a similar British success story in both the GP2 and GP3 feeder series that feature on the high-profile British Grand Prix bill. Jolyon Palmer heads the GP2 points table while Alex Lynn, another of this country’s rising stars, leads the GP3 standings. Twenty-year-old Lynn is a member of the MSA Team UK national squad and races for the Surrey-based Carlin team.
Rob Jones, MSA Chief Executive, said: “F1 has undergone one of its biggest ever technical changes and, once again, it is British companies that have risen to the challenge and displayed their excellence in the most competitive of proving grounds.
“The value of international success and world championships to the UK is not simply measured in economic terms; it also generates interest and awareness, which encourages more people to get involved and helps to make the UK’s unique club motor sport scene even stronger. That’s why the MSA is doing all it can to nurture new talents like Alex Lynn and give them the best possible chance of emulating the accomplishments of current stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.”