Tuesday, 17 June 2014

McLaren head to Austria aiming for another strong result

(McLaren Mercedes)

McLaren Mercedes head to the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring this weekend hoping to continue their momentum form last time in Canada and score another strong result following Jenson Button's fourth place finish which moved the Woking based outfit ahead of Williams Martini Racing in the Constructor's championship.

Kevin Magnussen finished the Canadian Grand Prix in 9th place. McLaren will bring a raft of update's to the Austrian Grand Prix and are hopeful that they will be able to score more point's and challenge for podium finishes. 

Jenson Button, who finished the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix in fourth place driving for BAR-Honda said:

'First, I think it’s great that we’re going back to Austria. Obviously, the Austrian Grand Prix has such a lot of history, the country has had some great drivers and champions in the past, and it’s also currently got a world-class grand prix team, so it makes a lot of sense for us to be racing there again.
“Second, I think it’s a great venue, a fantastic location for a grand prix. From my previous visits, I remember the clear mountain air, the cool morning temperatures before the sun hit the paddock, and the fast, sweeping corners that still largely exist, and which give this circuit a great feel from the cockpit. I remember the racing line for Turn One would lead us far out over the exit kerbs and onto the Tarmac run-off – it was crazy!
“It’ll be interesting to see what has changed in the intervening 10 years – I hear that the track has been left largely unchanged, but that the pits and paddock have been renovated. I think that’s a good call – the track is simple but great. A mini-classic.'

Button is one of four current driver's on the Formula One grid who raced in the 2003 Austrian Grand Prix. Team mate Kevin Magnussen has competed at the Red Bull Ring before having raced in the Word Series by Renault championship there. However driving a Formula One car there will be a different kettle of fish. The Dane said:

'It’s strange to be able to say it, but, of all the drivers on the F1 grid, I’ve probably got the most recent experience of racing at the Red Bull Ring, because two rounds of the World Series by Renault were held there last summer.
“It’s a very cool place – it’s a circuit where you never really get to rest in the cockpit because the track is always going somewhere; there’s only really one ‘straight’ straight, along the start/finish line, but it’s book-ended by fast corners so the opportunity you get to relax is pretty minimal.
“But that’s what makes it so enjoyable – every lap is a real adrenaline rush because the corners never stop coming. You need to really be on top of the car around here, you want it to be doing exactly what you ask of it, simply because the lap is so physical, the driver is actually doing a lot of work, so he needs his car to take as much of that burden as possible.
“I think this’ll be a great new addition to the calendar – the circuit is a hardcore racetrack, the fans are passionate and the venue is spectacular.

McLaren Racing Director, Eric Boullier said:

'Jenson’s fine fourth place in Canada was more the result of some great team strategy calls and a hungry and opportunistic drive from Jenson himself than an improvement in the overall pace of our car. Kevin drove very well in Montreal, too, although his race was thwarted by traffic and ill luck. Still, it’s a mark of the strength of the organisation that we can achieve results like these at a track where it’s often easy to falter.
“Nonetheless, we’re still not where we need to be. Since the beginning of the season, we’ve stated that we need to bring more downforce to the car. Of course, that’s a constantly moving target – for this weekend, however, we'll be evaluating a number of short- and long-term performance steps. It’s still too early to feel confident about calling them raceable options – it’s more about evaluating their applicability at the circuit than simply hoping they’ll improve lap-time. Nonetheless, we hope the steps will pave the way for an improvement.
“I’m looking forward to a challenging but successful weekend in Austria. It’s good news to see a new, albeit historic, European venue added to the calendar, and everybody will be hoping that this weekend’s event is a successful one.'

© Ben Johnston 2014 

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