Wellington Straight at Silverstone: Views, Hospitality & Speed

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

Wellington Straight at Silverstone

The Wellington Straight at Silverstone is the second longest straight on the Grand Prix circuit. This article takes an in-depth look at this section of track and provides some information on the best spectating areas here.

Contents

Why is it called the Wellington Straight?

During WW2 the RAF built an airfield at Silverstone. This was used from 1943 by the No.17 Operational Training Unit of Bomber Command to train young pilots in night time flying operations. 

The planes that were used for this were the Vickers Wellingtons, heavy twin-engined bombers. They stopped using RAF Silverstone in 1947, and in the next couple of years the circuit became a popular motorsport venue.

Wellington bomber 17 OTU

However, it was over 60 years before the name of the bombers was given to a section of the Silverstone track. Prior to 2010, this straight had been known as the National Straight as it was only used as part of the National circuit.

In 2011 the new Grand Prix circuit layout was unveiled with The Wing building, new pit lane and the Arena infield track section. This joined the GP track up with the National Straight and it was decided in 2011 to rename it to the Wellington Straight in honour of the planes that were based here in WW2.

Which bit of the track is it?

The Wellington Straight features on both the Grand Prix and National circuit layouts at Silverstone.

On the Grand Prix track it’s between Aintree and Brooklands corners. On the National circuit it’s between Becketts and Brooklands.

Silverstone GP circuit
Silverstone national

The image below shows how the two different circuit layouts join the Wellington Straight. The National circuit comes from Becketts which is tighter but ends up having a straighter run on to Wellington.

The Grand Prix circuit joins from Aintree which looks tight on the map, but the left hander that leads directly on to Wellington Straight is flat out in most cars.

Wellington straight joined from the National and Grand prix circuits at Silverstone

How long is the Wellington Straight?

The Wellington Straight at Silverstone is 650m / 2132ft long. This is measured from where the straight actually begins, not from either of the curved runs on to the straight shown in the image above.

It is the second longest straight at Silverstone after the Hangar Straight.

How fast do F1 cars go down Wellington Straight?

During qualifying, when the F1 cars are carrying minimum fuel and maximum corner speed, they can reach over 310kph / 190mph down the Wellington Straight.

The screenshot below is from Lewis Hamilton’s pole lap in 2021, right before he hits the brakes for Brooklands. You can see the telemetry is showing he maxes out at 316kph / 196mph at the end of the Wellington Straight.

Lewis Hamilton 316kph top speed on the Wellington Straight at Silverstone

They can hit such a high speed down the Wellington Straight as it is one of the two DRS zones at Silverstone. The detection point is before Village corner and the activation point is right at the exit of Aintree. The other zone is on the Hangar Straight.

Whilst the cars don’t quite break the 200mph mark during qualifying, in a race when they have DRS activated and are in another car’s slipstream they will easily surpass it. Speeds of over 210mph would not be uncommon.

Spectating at the Wellington Straight

There is a general admission spectating area that runs most of the way down the Wellington Straight on the left hand side of the circuit. 

It starts shortly after the exit of Aintree, goes all the way around Brooklands and finishes half way around Luffield. It can be seen on the map below as the blue line alongside the circuit.

If you stand in this area next to the straight your view will be partially obstructed by the catch fencing right in front of you. You’ll be a few feet back from the fence behind a small railing.

Depending how far along the straight you strand the bridge may also obstruct your view slightly, as might all the other people stood along the railing. You will have a great sense of speed as the cars come past you from right to left, but you won’t be able to see much of them after they disappear out of your direct view.

Wellington straight spectator area at Silverstone

The one positive of the bridge is that the grass mounds on either side of it are usually available as a spectating area. These give a much higher viewpoint meaning you can see over the catch fence and further around the track. 

The below image from the 2022 F1 shows them packed with fans, but that the bridge itself can’t be used for viewing as the advertising banners block that.

Silverstone F1 2022 Ferrari battle

There are no public grandstands along the Wellington Straight itself, however Woodcote A grandstand has a view directly back down the straight. 

It also allows you to see Brooklands, Luffield and Woodcote corners in full. It’s a covered grandstand so if you want some weather protection and some fixed seating whilst being able to see this bit of the track, it might be a good option.

The main stage, where the headline Silverstone concert performances will take place, it directly alongside the straight.

Wellington Straight hospitality

There are a couple of Silverstone’s hospitality options along the Wellington Straight that give a more exclusive viewing experience.

One is the Brooklands building, situated right at the turn-in point to Brooklands corner at the end of the straight on the right hand side of the track. This has a number of official and private hospitality suites within it, more information on which can be found in our Brooklands corner guide.

The other option is the Wellington Enclosure. This is located just after the bridge on the right hand side, and is a private covered trackside grandstand with views of Brooklands and Luffield, plus a large hospitality area offering food, drinks and live music all day long.

The members-only BRDC clubhouse and grandstand is also at the end of the Wellington straight on the right side of the track. 

Nearest spectator entrance

The nearest spectator entrance gate to the Wellington Straight is the main circuit entrance, gate 15.

Nearest car park

The nearest Silverstone parking areas are the ones closest to the main entrance, car parks 49 and 50.

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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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