French GP: McLaren preview

The Mobil 1 French Grand Prix sees the Formula One World Championship reach the mid-point of the 2004 season. The race, which is sponsored for a seventh consecutive year by West McLaren Mercedes' Technology Partner ExxonMobil, will see the race ...

The Mobil 1 French Grand Prix sees the Formula One World Championship reach the mid-point of the 2004 season. The race, which is sponsored for a seventh consecutive year by West McLaren Mercedes' Technology Partner ExxonMobil, will see the race debut of the team's revised 2004 car, the MP4-19B.

David Coulthard:

"I am looking forward to the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix, partly because it is an event that I particularly enjoy, but primarily because we are using the MP4-19B for the first time. After the two North American races, we returned to Europe to continue our test programme at Jerez with the MP4-19B. It was my first opportunity to get behind the wheel and it was a constructive couple of days. As with the rest of the team, I feel it is a positive move and I am looking forward to seeing how it goes this weekend."

"Similar to circuits such as Monaco and Nurburgring, Magny Cours is more of a technical circuit than a full power track, This characteristic tends to suit my driving style and I have had some excellent battles here that were hopefully as enjoyable for the fans as myself! My victory in 2000 is without a doubt one of my career highlights. The circuit itself has a very smooth track surface, this allows low ride heights and therefore leads to low mechanical grip."

Kimi Raikkonen:

"Following the United States Grand Prix, myself and the team again felt that the result of the race didn't fully demonstrate our potential, but that is racing. We are now focused on the Mobil 1 French Grand Prix, where David and myself are racing with the MP4-19B. It has run well in testing and I hope that it will run as reliably in the race as it did at Jerez."

"Magny Cours is a mix of low speed hairpins, fast chicane and medium speed corners. There is one main high speed section, from Estoril to Adelaide. It's crucial to drive the long, fast sweep of Estoril flat out without lifting, so that you have as much speed as possible as you swing round onto the fast section to power towards the hairpin in order to get a quick lap time. It is also a great corner to drive, as it allows you to really push the limits."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:

"Following its second encouraging test at Jerez last week and positive feedback from David, Kimi, Alex and Pedro, we have taken the decision to introduce MP4-19B at Magny Cours. During the test we completed comprehensive chassis and engine proving programmes alongside France-specific set-up and tyre work."

"We believe that the outcome from both a performance and reliability perspective demonstrates that MP4-19B is a step in the right direction, which is why the decision to race the car has been made. The entire team is continuously working to improve our overall package and whilst the MP4-19B is a significant part of this process additional developments are already planned for the coming weeks and months."

Norbert Haug, Vice president Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Following the promising tests in Silverstone four weeks ago and in Jerez last week we decided to introduce the MP4-19B at the French Grand Prix and race it for the first time. We learned a lot from both tests, especially from our test programme in Spain from 22 to 25 June in very hot conditions. Our four drivers Kimi, David, Alex and Pedro completed a total of about 700 laps equalling more than 3,000 kilometres in Jerez. The entire team worked extremely hard to prepare the MP4-19B for Magny Cours and everybody is keen to see a performance step with this car in terms of both speed and reliability."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren