Silverstone To Be Resurfaced In June, Contract Extended To 2021

The Silverstone circuit is to be resurfaced in June, ahead of the British F1 Grand Prix, and to be ready for the 2019 British round of MotoGP at the circuit in August.

The resurfacing was a condition for the Northamptonshire circuit to be able to host MotoGP. After last year's debacle, when the race had to be canceled because the track was not clearing water fast enough to be able to race safely, the FIM suspended Silverstone's license to host international motorcycle racing events. 

To avoid a repeat of that debacle, Silverstone brought in Jarno Zafelli, owner of Studio Dromo, an engineering company with expertise in track design, while Tarmac Ltd - the business founded by the inventor of the sticky black road surface - will be responsible for laying the new surface. Zafelli acts as an advisor to Dorna on track safety, design, and surfacing, and has been a key figure in overseeing the process.

Special equipment has been flown in from Japan, according to Mat Oxley over on Motor Sport Magazine. The profile of the circuit is being modified to improve drainage, and the asphalt will be a fraction more open to help disperse the water.

Silverstone's willingness to switch partners for the resurfacing is a sign of just how strongly the circuit is committed to MotoGP. The contract for MotoGP has now also been extended, with Silverstone set to host MotoGP through 2021. Unconfirmed rumors suggest an even longer extension is in the works, with Silverstone aiming for a five-year extension.

Though the new contract has been signed, this is not the end of the existing dispute between Silverstone and Aggregate Industries, who were responsible for the resurfacing last year. Though both parties are close to a preliminary agreement, there is still some wrangling between the parties and their insurance companies over how to distribute the costs of the canceled event.

For comments on the resurfacing from Michelin, Silverstone, and Dorna, see this story on the MCN website. Below is the official press release issued by circuit confirming the resurfacing:

Silverstone confirms resurface of Grand Prix circuit and extends MotoGP™ contract

May 8, 2019

Silverstone is delighted to confirm the entire Grand Prix circuit will be resurfaced in June, ahead of the 2019 GoPro British Grand Prix MotoGP™ in August.

In conjunction with the track surface news, MotoGP™ owners Dorna have this week also confirmed the contract to host MotoGP™ in the UK will stay with Silverstone to the end of 2021.

MotoGP™ at Silverstone is the pinnacle of a busy year of two-wheel racing at the Northamptonshire circuit, with the event taking place this year on the August Bank Holiday weekend of Friday, 23 to Sunday, 25 August.

The track work will be carried out by leading construction solutions company Tarmac under the guidance of track consultant Jarno Zaffelli. He has been appointed by Silverstone as an advisor for the duration of the project.

Silverstone Managing Director Stuart Pringle said: “Getting to this point has involved a lot of work by the staff at Silverstone but throughout it all we have been completely focused on making sure we make the right decisions to guarantee the future of our most important events with Formula One and MotoGP™.

“We have a globally-renowned company working on the surfacing of the track and we have one of the most respected circuit designers in Jarno Zaffelli working as an expert advisor to Silverstone during the works.

“The extension to the MotoGP™ contract is excellent news for all of us at Silverstone and allows us to plan long-term for the future development of MotoGP™, and all two-wheel action, at our circuit. We look forward to making the MotoGP™ weekend the best motorcycling event in the UK biking calendar.”

Paul Fleetham, Managing Director of Tarmac's Construction business said: “We are exceptionally proud to be working with the team at Silverstone to resurface the iconic British race circuit. It demonstrates both the quality of our people and our first class track record in delivering high-profile, nationally significant schemes.

“We’ve assembled a highly skilled team of professionals from across the country who will be working with pioneering innovations in automated construction to deliver the project to the highest possible standard. We look forward to getting underway.”

MotoGP™ CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: "The extension to the contract at Silverstone is a mark of the confidence we have in the circuit to host a successful MotoGP™ event over the next three years.

“Silverstone is one of the most historic of all the MotoGP™ venues and we have been working closely with Silverstone to ensure the race has a successful future. We will be assisting with any changes that need to be made regarding the track surface after the events of the 2018 MotoGP™.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Silverstone in what will be the highlight of the motorcycle racing calendar in the UK."

Back to top


I hope they attend to the drainage off the Tarmac before resurfacing.

Even a perfect surface will flood if the water has nowhere to go.

I have added another paragraph to the story, after reading Mat Oxley's article over on Motor Sport Magazine. They are changing the profile and adding a crown to the track at some points, to assist drainage.

IMHO, crowning and camber changes are not the complete answer. The trackside drainage needs to be vastly improved to soak away the water, otherwise it will just cause puddles at the side of the track. Crowning will just move the water to the side of the track. The sides of the track are more important than the crown, especially on the approach and entry and exit from corners. I reckon long soak-aways are needed, leading to "lagoons" so water coming off the track is led away and kept away. I'm no expert, but it seems like basic logic to me.

However, when you are up to your arse in alligators it's difficult to remember that the prime objective is to drain the swamp.

Resurface the track in June, F1 and other car races run in July and screw up the surface regardless of whether the water drains off better and MotoGP "races" in August. LMAO!!!

If you read the piece it says it’s a higher spec finish which will be properly cured before F1. However, I’m not buying advanced MotoGP tickets this year, I want to see some evidence that this has worked.

Thank again David. It's bascially saying, we will do anything to keep the MotoGP races here, please don't allow Donington to steal the money away from us again!

Didn't Donington lose their homologation as a MotoGP-level track from the FIM? Or was it just prohibitively expensive to make the "recommended" upgrades?

June seems a good time to do it. Circuits don’t get re-surfaced every year, so the various uses will occur before one MotoGP race or another. They may not have had much choice, but excluding these races from Silverstone and handing it on a plate to a company that already dominates UK racing is neither good for the sport nor Dorna’s negotiation options. I wish them well.

Asphalt can't be laid in wet/cold weather so June seems optimal for minimising interruptions while guessing they need a week or two solid to get it done.

Silverstone was relaid in the midst of a bitter British winter, the time of year they elected to do it...Also, if Silverstone are now cooing they’ve got a premium company (Tarmac) along with Jarno Zaffelli being the consultant, why weren’t they considered as options previously? Money? Presumably Zaffelli is an expert in these fields surely- if he’s also involved in F1 tracks-he should be the consultant from the start to ensure the correct company is picked, that there’s no doubt the project will work before being undertaken. Maybe the FIA/FIM should get together and have a standardised ‘homologation’ procedure in future?