Bahrain GP: McLaren preview

The Formula One fraternity moves to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the third Grand Prix of the 2005 Formula One season this coming weekend. The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Bahrain International Circuit for the event, which made its...

The Formula One fraternity moves to the Kingdom of Bahrain for the third Grand Prix of the 2005 Formula One season this coming weekend. The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Bahrain International Circuit for the event, which made its Formula One debut last year marking the start of Grand Prix racing's expansion into the Middle East.

Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, the team and the MP4-20 cars returned to the McLaren Technology Centre, for the first time since leaving for Australia in late February, to prepare for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"Despite the result in Malaysia, the MP4-20 felt good and I took the fastest lap showing the pace is there. I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in Bahrain and hopefully having a more positive race."

"The Bahrain circuit is tough on brakes, with similar wear to Montreal, which is usually the toughest. This is because there are a number of hard braking areas and not much chance for the brakes to cool between. We also learnt last year that conditions can change very quickly in the desert, even during sessions, this can be the temperature, wind speed even rain."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"I really enjoyed racing at Bahrain last year, it's a challenging circuit but that makes it interesting to drive. There are a couple of really quick corners that are particularly fun, the first is the right-left-right flicks though turns five, six and seven, which you need to take flat out to get a good lap time."

"Also, the uphill, sweeping right hander of 12 is pedal to the metal, and you really put your faith in the car through here, as you do through somewhere like Eau Rouge for example. The layout gives you room to push harder, but it is very slippery off line because of the sand and so it's difficult to recover. "

Pedro de la Rosa, West McLaren Mercedes test driver:

"Over the past couple of tests, our work with Michelin has focused on tyre evaluation programmes for Bahrain, culminating in Paul Ricard on Thursday 24th March when we selected which prime and option Michelin to take to the Sakhir race. I was at the test with Alex Wurz, and we completed over 1700 kms of the French track at the wheel of two MP4-19Bs during the course of two days."

"My work this coming weekend will obviously be fixed on assisting the team in the decision between the prime and option, so hopefully I will have the chance to complete some long runs of the Bahrain track, as I understand it is very demanding on the tyres."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:

"A characteristic of the surface at Bahrain is that it retains heat, and with track temperatures reaching over 50 degrees centigrade. As with Malaysia this demands good grip and durability from our Michelin tyres, which was demonstrated in Sepang, and hopefully the West McLaren Mercedes team will be taking advantage of this in Bahrain."

"This is another hot race, but the conditions are not humid like Sepang and therefore have less of an impact on the teams and the cars. However, the temperature can be very changeable, for example over the course of the Grand Prix last year we saw them range from 30-52 degrees centigrade on track, which is an interesting challenge to ensure the MP4-20 can operate to its optimum at both ends of the scale."

"Going into the event this year, we of course have a superior data set, having been able to conduct live testing programmes in preparations for its unique characteristics alongside the simulation work at the McLaren Technology Centre, which will assist our planned programme for Friday's free practice sessions."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The team has worked hard since Malaysia to make our package cope well with the special challenges of the Sakhir circuit. Due to its layout with three long straights joined by slow corners and its high grip level the track is very tough on both brakes and tyres, and we trust our partner Michelin will continue on the superb level of competitiveness they have shown during the first two Grands Prix of the season."

"As the circuit is surrounded by desert sand on the track makes it slippery off and sometimes even on the racing line. The heat to be expected in Bahrain could make cooling an issue like in Malaysia. With more than 65 percent the full throttle percentage per lap is above the average of the other circuits on the calendar."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren