As Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, along with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, stepped onto the podium to collect their trophies after last Sunday’s superb British Grand Prix, not many fans would have paid much attention to the awards they held aloft as they received the adulation of the crowd. But, like the designers, engineers and mechanics who work behind the scenes to make each Formula One car as fast and as reliable as it can be, our team worked tirelessly for almost four months to design and manufacture four stunning trophies worthy of being awarded at such a prestigious event as the 2016 British Grand Prix.
The design brief that Silverstone gave us was a challenging one; the drivers’ and constructors’ trophies had to resemble a cup of some kind and had to be as large as possible while adhering to F1 guidelines on trophy dimensions, and although there are strict rules regarding the branding on trophies, Silverstone were keen to incorporate their iconic “lightning bolt” logo into the overall design in some fashion.
Lewis Hamilton in particular has made his feelings very clear on the standard of trophies awarded at many Formula One races over the last few years – none more so than the infamous “red plastic thing” that he was awarded for winning the 2014 British Grand Prix. Hamilton, along with many other top drivers, believe that winning gold trophies makes the victory seem even more “special”. And when we were named as the official supplier of trophies for the British Grand Prix, we were determined to make something the driver would be proud of winning.
We created three different designs based on the brief, and Silverstone eventually opted for the “lightning bolt” trophies that were awarded last weekend. The three drivers’ trophies were designed in gold, silver and bronze, while the constructors’ award was designed in the colours of the Silverstone logo. All four trophies cleverly incorporated Silverstone’s iconic lightning bolts and featured a highly polished metal base.
Once the designs were signed off we set to work on manufacturing a prototype in acrylic so that Silverstone could ensure that the award conformed to F1 guidelines. However, the trophy broke while being transported to the race circuit due to the fragility of the acrylic material and the large size of the trophy. Fortunately, Silverstone were still able to confirm that the trophy met the F1 guidelines, and we assured them that final metal trophy would be far stronger and more robust.
The Manufacturing Process
The initial step in the manufacturing process was to cut out the lightning shapes for each of the four trophies. The 5mm thick metal material that we used in the construction of the trophy fitted the bill perfectly, as it was relatively straightforward to cut and would give the finished trophy the weight it needed to support the height.
Once the metal lighting shapes had been cut out they were then sent to our anodisers for colouring. Anodised metal can be almost any colour imaginable, but while the bright gold and silver finishes of the first and second place trophies were relatively straightforward to achieve, finding the right colour for the bronze trophy proved to be far more problematic.
Our anodising team produced five different shades of bronze, and it was left to Jon Ford, the managing director of Aford Awards, to choose the most suitable shade. The darkest shade of bronze looked almost brown, and while it provided a wonderful contrast to the bright gold and silver finishes of the other two trophies it would have looked terrible on television. Because of this, Jon opted for a lighter shade of bronze.
Once the metal lightning pieces had been anodised they were then sent away to be securely attached to the highly polished base. The end result was a series of spectacular trophies that perfectly met the design brief and were truly worthy of being handed out at the 2016 British Grand Prix.
The UK's Leading Trophy Manufacturer
As well being the proud supplier of trophies for the British Grand Prix, Aford Awards also provide trophies and awards for just about every type of occasion and event. From football trophies to rugby medals and crystal awards to presentation cups, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Aford Awards. Plus, we also offer free engraving and personalisation on all of our trophies too!