Belgian GP: McLaren preview

Jenson Button "We come into the Belgian Grand Prix knowing that we have some catching-up do to; we didn't have a particularly strong race in Hungary, and the whole team wants to get back to the front again as quickly as possible. "While...

Jenson Button

"We come into the Belgian Grand Prix knowing that we have some catching-up do to; we didn't have a particularly strong race in Hungary, and the whole team wants to get back to the front again as quickly as possible.

"While we're optimistic that the bodywork rules clarification will close the gap among the top teams, and that both Spa and Monza should suit our package better than the Hungaroring, it's still important that we regain the momentum we'd reached earlier this season.

"I love racing at Spa -- it's one of the truly great circuits, and a grand prix that I'd love to win. I didn't have the best race here last year, when I was punted out at the top of the hill on the first lap, so that just gives me additional motivation to do well here.

"While I don't think these two European races will be pivotal to the title fight, it will nonetheless be harder to introduce bigger upgrades to the car at the end-of-season flyaways, so it's important for the whole team that we score well in both events."

Lewis Hamilton

"Although it's been great for the whole team to have had the factory shutdown and a well-deserved holiday, I think we're all really looking forward to getting back into the title fight.

"The break gave us some valuable thinking time to consider how to improve our car for the remainder of the season -- and we head into these two races not only optimistic of some better results, but also of stronger pace for the rest of the year.

"Neither Jenson or I had a great race at Spa last year -- I didn't see much of it from the cockpit, but I think Jenson was pushed into a spin from behind at Les Combes and the resulting accident took me out too. So it was weird to watch the whole race back in the garage.

"For this year, too, I head to Spa off the back of a disappointing non-finish in Hungary. We've investigated the causes, and think we've identified the reason and are confident that it shouldn't happen again.

"Personally, I think Spa is one of the 'great' Formula 1 tracks, and one I'd really love to win. I'll be going flat-out to try and get us back into the hunt again in Belgium, and it would be fantastic if we could take home another win at the end of the weekend."

Martin Whitmarsh
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

"The summer break was extremely welcome for a number of reasons -- firstly, it provided the whole team with a much-needed rest period after some particularly relentless races; secondly, it gave our engineers time for consideration and thought ahead of the closing run of races; and, finally, the downtime proved very useful in enabling us to carry out some maintenance work to our windtunnel, which should improve its correlation.

"After a disappointing Hungarian Grand Prix, we are pushing hard to regain the performance relative to our rivals that we had enjoyed earlier this season. While we believe our recent upgrades have given us a downforce improvement, it appears that the package hasn't yet delivered to its full potential, particularly in terms of providing the drivers with a consistent, confidence-delivering platform.

"We were able to carry out some useful evaluative tests during practice in Hungary, which provided us with some useful data and avenues for experimentation. And we'll take that programme further in Spa, running floor rakes during practice to supply us with more information.

"As we've always stated, we believe there are some large areas of performance locked within the car and its recent upgrade, and we are confident that our solid-engineering approach will enable us to fully unlock them sooner rather than later."

-source: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Lewis Hamilton , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren