Will a British driver win the home GP?

July, 6, 2011
07/06/11
9:19
PM ET
Jenson ButtonJavier Soriano/AFP/Getty ImagesJenson Button and teammate Lewis Hamilton are going to have to step up if they want to win their home race.

Two teams that are underperforming by their standards may have just gotten the boost needed to compete once again at the top level. While there are two very different circumstances, they happen to be two of the most successful teams in regards to constructors' championships.

Ferrari has struggled to keep pace with Red Bull and McLaren all season, but Silverstone should go a long way in determining whether the team will be competitive for the rest of the year.

Updates to the Ferrari will be in place for Silverstone, and lead driver Fernando Alonso told the Formula Santander website, "England is a very aerodynamic circuit, very similar to Barcelona where we were very far behind and were lapped in the race," he said. "Therefore in Silverstone if we manage to be at the front, it means we have a very competitive car for what remains of the year, but if we are still so far behind, it will be difficult, and we will have to fight for partial grands prix victories: podiums, fastest laps and those types of more secondary things."

The team with an F1-best 215 victories could surely use a strong finish at Silverstone, and perhaps the ban on off-throttle exhaust blown diffusers, which comes into effect this race, will help bring some competitors back toward Ferrari.

A team suffering even more this season has been Williams. The squad has nine constructors' titles to its name, second only to Ferrari, but has collected fewer points this season than the likes of Toro Rosso and Force India.

But a recent announcement that the team will reunite with famed engine supplier Renault could boost morale heading into next season.

Williams enjoyed its best F1 years while partnered with Renault between 1989 and 1997. In those nine years, the team won five constructors' titles and a remarkable 63 races. Both figures are more than the team has been able to amass in the other 27 seasons of existence combined.

All the teams now have their eyes on Silverstone, the track that hosted the first-ever Formula One event. It's certainly changed throughout the years, and this season fans will see the race start prior to Abbey corner rather than between Woodcote and Copse.

It's no doubt one of the most classic venues on the schedule, and has hosted an F1 event uninterrupted since 1987, the fourth-longest active streak.

It's an extremely fast and flat track, so car setup is imperative there. Last year's event brought with it an extended layout, meaning the track is a shade under six kilometers. That makes it the second longest of the season behind only Spa.

Silverstone has long seen men from Great Britain claim victory at the track, but that hasn't been the case lately. The circuit has seen a driver from Great Britain win 16 times (next closest is five by France), but only once in the past 10 races. Finland has produced more winners in that span.

The past eight races have been won by as many drivers, and in the past four years, it's been a bit unpredictable.

In 2010, Mark Webber capitalized on a poor start by Sebastian Vettel to take the victory.

He entered the race fourth in the championship standings, as did winners Lewis Hamilton in 2008 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2007. Vettel entered third in the points when he crossed the line first in 2009.

A driver such as England's Hamilton, who sits fourth in the standings, could therefore certainly find himself leading the field to the finish again Sunday.

Elsewhere, the grid will see a new face this weekend in the form of Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who replaces Narain Karthikeyan at HRT.

He's now the seventh driver to compete for HRT in its brief two-year existence, and in that same span the other two newcomers (Lotus and Virgin) have had just five combined.

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