German GP: McLaren preview

Hockenheim is the host venue for round 12 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix. Following the French Grand Prix nine days ago, Team McLaren Mercedes travelled to Jerez for a four day test with Kimi Raikkonen,...

Hockenheim is the host venue for round 12 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix. Following the French Grand Prix nine days ago, Team McLaren Mercedes travelled to Jerez for a four day test with Kimi Raikkonen, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett all in attendance.

The race, which is sponsored for the 16th consecutive year by Team McLaren Mercedes Technology Partner ExxonMobil, is the second home event of the season for Mercedes-Benz. With their headquarters located just an hours drive away in Stuttgart, a few thousand Mercedes-Benz employees will attend the Grand Prix at Hockenheim to watch the Team McLaren Mercedes drivers Kimi and Pedro in action.

Many of them will be on the Mercedes grandstand and enjoy an entertaining programme comprising interviews and autograph sessions with all Team McLaren Mercedes drivers and all Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers, live music an the show stage and pit stop competitions. All ticket holders for the Mercedes grandstand will get a free pocket radio to listen to the practice, qualifying and race commentary by five-times DTM and ITC champion Bernd Schneider.

The German Grand Prix was introduced to the sport in 1951 and originally took place at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Paying occasional visits to the Avus track and Hockenheim over the years, the latter became the permanent base for the German Grand Prix in 1977, with the exception of 1985 which saw the race return to Nürburgring for a year.

When Team McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen won the 1998 German Grand Prix, the most recent Team McLaren Mercedes victory at Hockenheim, he finished just 0.427 seconds ahead of his team mate David Coulthard. It was the closest finish in the history of the German race.

McLaren secured its first victory at the event in 1976 with James Hunt at the wheel in a year that saw him become FIA Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion. Including this maiden victory, the team has won the German Grand Prix a total of six times.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"Our car has definitely been improving over the last few races, and we had another productive test in Jerez last week as the development process on the MP4-21 continues. Hopefully when we get to Germany we will be able to make the most of this on track. Since the changes were made to the Hockenheimring, it is now more about slow and medium speed corners than all out speed."

"As a result, it is really important to have good traction on the exits of corners to make sure you find the speed you need on the short straights in between. Also, this cornering means the brakes are put under quite a bit of pressure so we will run with bigger brake ducts than normal and for sure braking stability is key."

"I hope that following a result that was not what we were looking for in France, we are able to go to Germany and put on a great race for all the Mercedes-Benz employees and fans that will be at the track for the weekend, they are always very supportive so I hope they will get to see a good result for the team."

Pedro de la Rosa:

"It was great to be back racing in France, and I am really looking forward to getting back out there again in Germany this weekend. The car felt quick, and hopefully we will demonstrate that a bit better at Mercedes-Benz's home race. I last drove at Hockenheim in 2002, so I have been on the revised layout."

"It is now more of a high downforce track, but you do need a compromise on the set-up to ensure you can challenge for position on the track by being quick on the straights. For overtaking, one of the best places would be between corners two and three, so the exit speed of turn two is very important."

"There always seem to be exciting races here in Germany, and I am really looking forward to racing for the first time in front of the home crowd for Mercedes-Benz as a Team McLaren Mercedes driver. The noise that comes from the Mercedes-Benz Grandstand is fantastic and I hope we can give them something to cheer about this weekend!"

"We had a productive test last week at Jerez, with the test break we did a lot of work on tyres for the next three races with Michelin and also continued the development programme of the MP4-21, and I am interested to see how the car will now perform at Hockenheim."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"France demonstrated that the MP4-21 has moved forward with regards pace, with Team McLaren Mercedes posting the fastest two times of the Michelin runners. We have completed the final test before the August break, with the next session scheduled to take place from Tuesday 29th August."

"There was a big focus at the test on work with Michelin to ensure we go to Germany with a more competitive range of tyre choices. The track demands a high downforce configuration, and the MP4-21 ran well in this environment at Monaco and hopefully that will be a good indication of performance in Germany this weekend."

Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Hockenheim is a very special Grand Prix for the team and certainly the busiest one. We expect 6500 spectators on the Mercedes grandstand. We will offer them a particularly entertaining programme with maximum benefit at no extra cost. Of course our focus is on what happens on the track and we aim for a good result in our home race."

"We made more progress during intensive tests at Jerez last week; at Magny-Cours, we posted the fastest lap of the Michelin teams and our race speed was amongst the best of the Michelin runners. However, we have to manage to start from the first two rows on the grid, this is the only way to turn this pace into the positions we expect."

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Kimi Raikkonen , Bernd Schneider , Norbert Haug , Gary Paffett , James Hunt , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren