You didn't think I'd forgotten, did you?
At Valencia, after the banning of changes to engine mapping, we were all expecting the Red Bulls to be reined in somewhat, at least in qualifying. Well, Vettel got Pole, and he went on to more than comfortably win the race. Now, with Silverstone comes another regulation change, this one more severe - the banning of the off-throttle blown diffusers. So, should we expect this to make any difference to Red Bull's almost compete domination this season? That depends on who you ask: Vettel says it shouldn't affect the car or the team that much, and he should know as he's the guy who drives the car, right? Go ask Adrian Newey the same question ... you'll get a different, far more pessimistic answer. Newey has stated that the whole car is built around that off-throttle blown diffuser exhaust system, and that it will have a severe impact on their performance. The practice times may give some indication, but it's in qualifying that we'll really find out how much of a difference, if any, it will make to the established order.
Meanwhile, the 'will he, won't he?' rumours surrounding Lewis Hamilton's potential move to Red Bull next season keep getting hotter and hotter before having cold water poured all over them by both Horner and Hamilton ... again! Lewis is looking to put those to the back of his mind and produce a solid drive; he is hopeful that the McLaren team will be competitive this weekend, particularly after they were outshone two weeks ago by Ferrari. Speaking of the prancing horse, we may well see them disappear this weekend, much like they did at Catalunya. Why? The tyres. Pirelli are issuing the Hard and soft compounds this weekend, and Ferrari really struggled with the Hard tyre in Spain; so we may well see a straight fight between the McLarens and the Red Bulls.
Silverstone will have only the one DRS zone, rather than the two we saw at Montreal and Valencia. The detection zone is just before turn three, heading into the new Arena part of the track, and the activation zone starts just after turn 4. This means that drivers can opt to use DRS while going flat-out through turn 5 and onto the straight heading down to Brooklands. As for my driver to watch, it's a man who has never even been on the podium at Silverstone, let alone won a race there - Jenson Button. If the Red Bulls really are badly affected by the regulation change, and if Ferrari do struggle with the tyres, then the McLaren drivers should stand a good chance here. Lewis and the Red Bulls may well out-qualify Jenson, but he will be eager to get a win at his home GP, and if the weather changes...