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Mixed reception for new Silverstone circuit

ESPNF1 Staff
May 3, 2010 « Sauber confident it can turn things round | »
The FIA GT1 World Championship against the backdrop of continuing building works at Silverstone © Sutton Images
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After last Thursday's formal re-opening, the revamped Silverstone circuit hosted its first event at the weekend, but not everyone was happy with the changes made.

A new 760-metre stretch features some slower bends that could help overtaking, but Silverstone is nonetheless tipped to knock Monza off the perch as the fastest circuit on the F1 calendar.

But former Renault driver Romain Grosjean, in a Ford for the FIA's new GT1 category, was not impressed. "It's nothing special," he said. "We've lost Bridge and the complex which was very nice, and we didn't gain much with the new part. I'm not 100% convinced.

"With the single seater cars they are flat-out through Abbey and in Formula One it is going to be very fast as well. I don't think it gives any overtaking opportunities. So that's a bit of a shame."

Former F1 safety car driver Oliver Gaven - who now drives a Corvette in GT1 - was more positive. "I think the circuit flows very nicely … I'm very happy with it," he said. "It's got a nice combination of corners and some nice challenging stuff for us. There are two or three corners that are nearly flat and one or two that you have got to have a lot of commitment. The style of Silverstone has been carried on. They have done a cracking job with it."

BBC commentator Martin Brundle doubts the new section will boost overtaking, but fellow former F1 veteran Johnny Herbert thinks Arena adds "one" additional overtaking place to the circuit.