For many racing fans across the globe, Silverstone is synonymous with Formula 1. The circuit started life as an RAF air station built during the Second World War and in 1950 hosted the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix. The track layout has developed over many years from its original form where it navigated the perimeter roads of the air station to become what it is today.
After the Royal Air Force closed the air station in 1947 Silverstone first hosted the British Grand Prix in 1948. This was on a very different circuit to what was used for the 1950 race, it utilised two of the three runways with two tight hairpins. This circuit, shown below, was only used once and never by Formula 1.
The below video shows every F1 race that Silverstone has held since it all started in 1950. You will see how the circuit develops over time and how much has changed in recent years. The average lap speed has been included as well, to help visualise how speeds have changed over the years, especially as more corners are added.
At the end of the video, you can see all of the used layouts on top of each other. If you didn’t get a good look of it, there is another version after this paragraph. It really helps to visualise how Silverstone has developed over the years, from its basic perimeter road layout to the more complex layout of today. When F1 first visited Silverstone the circuit had only had 8 corners while today it has over double that at 18. It’s crazy to think that the world-renowned corners of Maggotts and Becketts where only first raced in 1991.
You can see that there are some sections that still follow the original perimeter roads of the air station. If you go to Silverstone now, it would be hard to tell its origin, which is understandable considering how long ago it closed and the development that has been undertaken. There are hints of the original use of Silverstone, mainly on the inside of the circuit where you can see sections of the old runways.
Silverstone has changed a lot over the years and I’m sure it will change more in the years to come. But one thing is certain, it will always be steeped in history.