Motor Racing / British Grand Prix: Changes to Silverstone create 'almost the perfect track': Derick Allsop talks to Britain's Martin Brundle about the spiritual home of Formula One while the McLaren driver describes a lap of the reshaped circuit

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The Independent Online
FORMULA ONE is back at its spiritual home this weekend but those doughty competitors of the immediate post-war days and the first world championship grand prix, on 13 May 1950, would scarcely recognise the place.

The Silverstone circuit, created from an old air base, has been reshaped yet again this year to meet safety demands and Martin Brundle, who was prominent in the planning, believes Britain now has 'almost the perfect track'.

Brundle, the McLaren-Peugeot driver, said: 'Silverstone have done an exceptional job and I think their motives were absolutely right. Changes have been made where they were needed, at Copse, Stowe, Abbey and the complex after Bridge, but Becketts, for instance, is unchanged. We just have a few more gravel traps there to collect us up, which is exactly what was required.

'We don't want to take these great corners away. We just want to be able to survive them. Everybody's made it quite clear they are not prepared to see top racing drivers, or indeed any sports people, killed in action unnecessarily.

'There will be injuries, there will be deaths in the future, but everybody has got to be comfortable when they are pointing their car at that barrier at ridiculous speeds. Silverstone remains a fast grand prix circuit. It is still demanding. We now have more overtaking opportunities, so it should be more interesting, and we believe it is safer.'

Brundle's only reservations concern the complex after Bridge. He explained: 'You brake hard to a second-gear, 90-degree left and this hasn't quite worked out.

'I felt it could have been more interesting. I wanted to keep Bridge free, to keep it flowing, demanding, and fix the problems either side of it. The fix before, at Abbey, worked beautifully, but the fix after has been spoilt. It could have been the perfect race track. Maybe it could be revised there, though.'

The British public will also see for the first time the revised cars, with modified aerodynamics and holes in the air-boxes to reduce cornering speeds and horsepower. Brundle also has mixed feelings about these changes.

He said: 'We had to do something to slow down the cars, but they have lost their purity. I have to say I don't enjoy driving them as much. They slide around more. We strive for perfection in Formula One and when the cars are less than perfect they are less fun. For a short time at least, though, the regulations have levelled the playing field a bit.'

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