1973 British Grand Prix

John Player British Grand Prix

Saturday, July 14, 1973
Dry and overcast
Fastest Lap:
Hunt, 1m18.6
1973 season:

A momentous occasion

There may be a lot of things wrong with the Silverstone airfield circuit, but one thing is definite, it is not a "Mickey-Mouse" circuit. Flat it may be, wide it may be, and fast it most certainly is, but at the lap speeds of today it produces almost knife-edge situations and calls for a finesse in driving and a skill to go with bravery that sorts out the top Grand Prix drivers. If you are going to lap at close on 140 m.p.h. then there is no place for untidy driving, raggedness or poor judgement, which is why there is a span of more than four seconds between the fastest and the slowest in a Formula One field at Silverstone. With the performance of today's 450 horsepower, lightweight cars, with their phenomenal cornering powers produced by modern tyres and aerodynamic downthrust and today's outstanding braking capabilities, the Silverstone circuit has become almost a Speed-Bowl rather than a road-racing circuit, yet the shape of the circuit has remained unchanged since 1949.

With Great Britain being the home of most of the teams involved in Grand Prix racing today, as well as many of the drivers and the people putting money into the racing, it was no surprise to find one of the largest entries ever seen, arriving for practice. There were no fears about having to qualify for a starting grid place, for they could all be accommodated on the wide 4.71-kilometre circuit, so their only problem was exactly where they would be on the grid. Official practice took place on Thursday from 11.45 a.m. to 2.15 p.m. and again on Friday from 1.30 p.m. to 4 p.m., a total of 5 hours practice for a race that was going to last for less than 1-1/2 hours, being run over 67 laps. In case this was not enough there was an unofficial practice day on the previous Tuesday, and if this still was not enough there was a further 30 minutes available on the morning of the race, which was Saturday July 14th.