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."