It is a race that has always given great emotions and this year the fans are waiting for it more impatient than ever, because in British Grand Prix, on the legendary circuit of Silverstone, the sprint qualifying will debut on 17 July. According to the new format, the position on the starting grid for Sunday’s race will be decided by the result of a 100-kilometer race (equal to 17 laps in the case of the English track) without stopping. An experiment that, if it were to be successful with the public hoped for, in a future yet to be established could also retire the traditional qualification structure. While the pilots, with the passing of the days, are more and more curious to “taste” this important novelty, we at FormulaPassion.it we fished out seven from the past that we are sure would have greatly appreciated a mini-race in which to put on a show before the Grand Prix.
“I love racing and I will always drive with my foot on the board”, the great one once said Gilles Villeneuve. Our hypothetical classification of tightrope walkers for sprint races could only open with the “little Canadian”, beloved by Enzo Ferrari and immortal hero for entire generations of racing enthusiasts. Gilles, who learned the art of speed in snowmobile racing at home and transferred it with courage and authenticity to the Formula 1 circuits, would certainly have enjoyed it at the Silverstone Grand Prix. Little but sure.
Next to Villeneuve, between the curbs of Silverstone, the weekend of next 16-18 July would have gladly given a show also Keke Rosberg. The Formula 1 world champion in 1982 was one of the greatest interpreters of the English circuit, on which in 1985 with his Williams FW10 he set the fastest lap in qualifying with a time of 65.591 seconds at the sci-fi average speed of 257. 5 km / h. “It looked like it was flying on the asphalt surface”, recalled the speaker of the track, Keith Douglas.
The British nicknamed it ‘Our Nige’, reserving that total and unconditional love that every fan feels for their favorite. Nigel Mansell in 1987 he put his driver-wrestler seal on one of the most beautiful races ever held at the Silverstone circuit, with a terrifying victory against Williams teammate Nelson Piquet. A place on the grid in our special Top 7 is a must for him in view of the sprint qualifying debut on the British track.
Seventeen years old. The record for the single lap at Silverstone set by Keke Rosberg in qualifying for the 1985 Great Britain Grand Prix remained in place. To shatter it, in 2022, a South American driver all grit and instinct: Juan Pablo Montoya.
Self Jean Alesi were to race at Silverstone this year, for sure it would no longer be in the skin. The French ex-Ferrari in thirteen years of honorable career has only won one Grand Prix, but thanks to his passionate approach to racing he occupies a special place in the hearts of the Prancing Horse fans. After all, his idol has always been Gilles Villeneuve …
Competitive, lightning fast and obsessed with winning as he was, Ayrton Senna he would certainly have found bread for his teeth in the new format of sprint races. The three-time world champion in his career has won 65 pole positions and there is no doubt that if he were still with us he would have made a false attempt to be at the starting line for the British Grand Prix.
What does such a fine and cold calculator do to us Niki Lauda in the midst of this group of impetuous and passionate pilots? The question, absolutely legitimate, finds a very precise answer by retracing the leitmotiv of the 1984 season, at the end of which the Austrian driver obtained his third and last world title. Constantly slower in qualifying than his team-mate Alain Prost, that year Lauda decided to concentrate all his efforts in the race. With amazing results, so much so that without ever going beyond third place in qualifying he managed to win the Championship. Thanks to a temperament and effectiveness on the track that today would make him a true star of sprint races.