F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given the green light for Silverstone to stage the 2010 British Grand Prix on a revised circuit layout.
The British track won back the staging rights to the race in December after a proposed switch to Donington Park fell through, by which time a £5m (€5.7m) facelift was already well underway.
The new ’Arena’ circuit was originally designed to comply with MotoGP regulations, with the motorcycling series making the switch to Silverstone later this year, but today’s seal of approval from Ecclestone’s Formula One Management company means F1 cars will also use the new layout.
Officials hope the new section – which will increase the circuit length by 760 metres and add around four seconds to current the lap time – will create three new overtaking opportunities.
Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “The new sections of circuit were initially brought in to comply with MotoGP safety regulations, but the ’Arena Complex’ was always designed with both two- and four-wheeled racing in mind.
“We have been very careful, working closely with drivers and riders, to make sure we are improving and enhancing what Silverstone already has to offer.”
The main change the new Arena circuit will offer begins at Abbey corner, where instead of heading into Farm, Bridge and Priory, competitors will now tackle a new infield complex. The circuit then joins the National Straight before returning to the original Grand Prix circuit at Brooklands.
“Some will miss not seeing modern day F1 cars accelerating through Bridge, but we have to move with the times and continue looking at ways to improve the overall experience,” Phillips continued.
“The new layout will bring an extra dimension to Silverstone, a new challenge for the drivers, and will enable fans to get closer to the action.”
Silverstone has been routinely criticised by Ecclestone in recent years for the quality of its spectator facilities, and this is an area the circuit’s owners have sought to address, with new elevated viewing banks under construction and existing grandstands set to be moved to bring fans closer to the action.
A new pit and paddock complex is scheduled to be completed by summer 2011, which will feature new garages, a race control building, media centre, hospitality and VIP spectator zones.