Maggots and Becketts in F1: more G-Force than a Rocket Launch

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Maggots and Becketts high speed and high G forces in F1

Of all the corners on the Formula One calendar Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone are notorious for a couple of reasons. Firstly their name – why would you call a corner Maggots? And secondly, because the drivers apex this sequence of corners at over 190mph and the G-forces they sustain are off the charts.

This article takes a detailed look at what makes these corners one of a kind.

Contents

Why is it called Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone?

First things first, contrary to one ill-informed Redditor’s thoughts, these corners are not called ‘Maggots in Buckets’. Their name was definitely not derived from a café on the WW2 Silverstone airfield that served rotting meat, full of the worm-like lavae, to the brave airman. How wrong (but hilarious) you are. 

Instead Maggots got its name from Maggot’s Moor, a marshy wetland only a hundred yards or so east of the what, at the time, was the airfield perimeter road, which can be seen on the map below.

Old Silverstone map showing Maggot's Moor and Sir Thomas a Beckett Chapel in 1952

Becketts corner got its name from the Sir Thomas a Beckett Chapel that was situated on the very spot were Becketts corner now resides. And the following Chapel corner name? Well no prizes for guess that came from the chapel as well.

The pink section of the airfield perimeter road on this map above shows what is now the Maggots and Becketts sections of track, followed by Chapel.

Which section of track is it?

The Maggots and Becketts sequence of corners are about two thirds of the way around a lap of the Grand Prix circuit layout at Silverstone.

SIlverstone map showing Maggots and Becketts and Chapel corners

They form part of the original track layout that has been used for years. The full sequence of corners is Maggots, Becketts and Chapel. In older versions of the circuit they used to be three distinct corners but now they all flow as one never ending set of left-right-left-right-left turns.

There is are grandstands at Chapel and Becketts, offering spectators awesome views of the cars being sucked to the ground by their downforce at high speed. There is also the new Escapade Silverstone trackside residency complex being built directly alongside this bit of track.

The diagram below shows roughly where each of the three corners starts and ends.

Maggots, Becketts and Chapel corners at Silverstone

How fast do F1 cars go around Maggots and Becketts?

F1 cars enter Maggots and Becketts at about 308kph / 191mph. In the dry they are completely flat out, throttle pinned to the floor, as they enter the first left hander.

At the apex of the first right hander of Maggots they are still completely flat out, only with a slight speed reduction due to the downforce through cornering.

Just before they get to the apex of the left hander of Becketts there is a slight lift off the throttle.

Then once they’ve cleared the apex kerb, a dab on the brakes to slow the car down for the entry to the right hander of Becketts.

The F1 car’s minimum speed through the whole Maggots and Becketts sequence is 228kph / 141mph. After that point they’re back on the throttle hard as they accelerate around the flat-out left hander of Chapel on to the Hangar Straight.

How many Gs through Maggots and Becketts?

F1 drivers are subjected to as much a 6.5 lateral Gs through Maggots and Becketts.

This video shows a data overlay as one of the Ferrari F1 cars hits 6.5 lateral G as it apexes the right hander of Maggots in 2019.

Below is Leclerc maxing out at 5.3 lateral G in his Ferrari.

The data overlay is slightly out of sync and ahead of the video footage, so the 5.3 peak was experienced at the same spot as the two images above. That point, just before the apex of the Maggots right hander, is the peak lateral G loading through these corners.

The maximum Gs experienced through here depends on how fast they corner, and that is determined by a number of factors including tyre wear, fuel load, weather etc. 6.5G is probably not very common, but realistic most laps during the race the drivers will see between 4 and 5 G through Maggots and Becketts.

Some corners on the F1 calendar, like the long left of Pouhon at Spa Franchorchamps are a sustained very high lateral G loading in one direction.

Maggots and Becketts is completely different; there are three direction changes before the cars even reach Chapel.

What does 6.5G feel like?

6.5 G means something can have a weight 6.5 times its actual weight acting upon it.

Astronauts these days experience around 3G during a rocket launch. In the early days of the space race the launches were less gradual and astronauts experienced around 6G.

So what does 6.5G feel like? Wel let’s say you’re an average F1 driver and your head weighs 5.5kg (I’ve added a little bit to account for those serious jaw lines and big egos). Plus the helmet weighs around 1.5kg giving a total mass of 7kg for everything above the shoulders.

6.5 lateral G acting on that mass is the equivalent of 45.5kg of force pushing sideways on your head (6.5 x 7).

Imagine lying on your side on a table with you head hanging over the edge. Now attach a 45.5kg weight to the side of your head and try and use your neck muscles to stop it from being pulled towards the floor. No chance whatsoever.

Okay so the 6.5kg peak is very short lived, but the whole Maggots and Becketts sequence takes closes to 6 seconds. That’s 6 seconds the drivers are having something above 3 lateral G acting on them.

Now add that to all the other high speed corners at Silverstone like Copse and Abbey, and multiply it by the race distance of 52 laps and you have to have a serious set of neck muscles on you to go the distance.

That’s why neck training is such a big part of the F1 driver’s fitness regime. 

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Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

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