Many expect the result of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone to set the trend for the rest of the F1 season… Ferrari has updated its F-2003 GA, Renault will field its new R23B and Williams-BMW has recruited Frank Dernie to help Juan-Pablo Montoya.

Many expect the result of Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone to set the trend for the rest of the F1 season… Ferrari has updated its F-2003 GA, Renault will field its new R23B and Williams-BMW has recruited Frank Dernie to help Juan-Pablo Montoya.


CARtoday.com reported on Wednesday that Ferrari planned to break Williams-BMW’s run of victories at Silverstone and has prepared an upgraded aerodynamic package, revised electronic system, engine mods and new fuel for the race. Ferrari, Jordan-Ford, BAR and Sauber-Petronas will be using new specification Bridgestone tyres following the Italian team’s three tyre evaluation test sessions at Barcelona, Mugello and Fiorano.


It remains to be seen whether Bridgestone has made significant gains over Michelin, the company that supplies tyres to Williams-BMW, McLaren-Mercedes and Renault among others. BAR driver Jenson Button this week attributed his team’s current lack of pace to the under-par performance of the Japanese company’s rubber.


“In the last couple of races we didn't have the pace and I think quite a bit of that is down to the tyres,” the Briton, who will be racing an uprated BAR 005 chassis this weekend, said. “I hope we are not going the wrong way on tyres. We are working as hard as we can with Bridgestone to move forward, but it is happening slowly.”


Button’s former employer, Renault, will race its R23B chassis this weekend and technical director Mike Gascoyne holds high hopes for the updated machine.


Based on its R23 that scored three podium finishes this season, Gascoyne believes the improvements will lead to improved lap times at Silverstone: “We will have a major bodywork update on the car. The R23B groups together a significant number of detail modifications into a single package, and following a positive test in Barcelona last week, we expect it to bring a definite gain on the stopwatch."


"Silverstone should suit us very well," he said. "The circuit most akin to it is Barcelona and we ran very strongly there earlier this season, coming close to winning the race. Silverstone is a circuit which rewards strong aerodynamic performance, and we have further improvements in that area for this race. I think we can have a very competitive weekend, and take points off our direct competitors," Gascoyne added.


In contrast, team boss Frank Williams thinks this weekend could be a “wake-up call' for Williams-BMW, because Silverstone is a tough circuit for the team.


“The last four races were very good for us, but they were all on relatively straightforward circuits," said Sir Frank. "The tough circuits for us are Barcelona, Silverstone, Melbourne and Suzuka,"


"This race will be a wake-up call for us. We might run at the front, but it's a tough circuit and Silverstone has often sent the team home with some hard lessons. Ferrari will want to lash the back and McLaren's old car was still quick at the last test, but if we win fair and square it means our car is in as good a shape as anybody's," he added.


This week, experienced F1 designer and engineer Frank Dernie was assigned by Williams-BMW to help Montoya get his world championship challenge back on track.


Montoya's team-mate, Ralf Schumacher, has won the last two races and has finished ahead of the Colombian in the last three grands prix. Ralf, now third in the championship, has a six-point advantage over Montoya after struggling earlier in the year.


The Colombian has recently struggled to find the optimum qualifying set-up for his FW 24. “I don't know what it's down to,” he said. “I think maybe I've been taking a more consistent approach while he has been risking more. I also told Sam Michael (the team's chief operations engineer) that I needed help to develop the car, so the team has hired Dernie to work full-time on my car.”


Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren-Mercedes are heading into the British Grand Prix hoping to make up ground on Ferrari’s championship leader Michael Schumacher.


“Following the French Grand Prix, we conducted a comprehensive and positive test programme at Barcelona last week, continuing the development programme of the MP4-17D and MP4-18,” said McLaren managing director Martin Whitmarsh. “We are now looking forward to our home grand prix at Silverstone, where we believe we have the potential to challenge for victory and we are all working to try and achieve this objective.”


Raikkonen lost out to Schumacher in the final round of pit stops at Magny-Cours, and with an eight-point deficit to the Ferrari driver, the Finn can ill-afford to finish behind the German again this weekend. “Of course it was frustrating not to finish on the podium at the French Grand Prix having held third position for the majority of the race,” said Raikkonen, “but unfortunately that was not possible.


“The team has been working hard since then, at the test in Barcelona and the factory, to try and ensure we can challenge for a top three position at Silverstone. The race is obviously more important for me now as it is the home race for the team.”


McLaren's record at Silverstone is enviable having won the race three times in the last four years. “McLaren has actually won more British Grands Prix than any other constructor,” said Whitmarsh, “with a total of 12 that began 30 years ago with Peter Revson.”

Original article from Car