Luxembourg GP McLaren Preview

LUXEMBOURG GRAND PRIX 1998 - PREVIEW The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Nurburgring circuit for the penultimate round of the 1998 Formula One World Championship with hopes of winning both the Drivers' and Constructors'...

LUXEMBOURG GRAND PRIX 1998 - PREVIEW The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Nurburgring circuit for the penultimate round of the 1998 Formula One World Championship with hopes of winning both the Drivers' and Constructors' titles. This is only the sixth time that the modern Nurburgring circuit has hosted a Grand Prix, after staging the 1984, 1995, 1996 European Grands Prix, the 1985 German Grand Prix and, in its latest manifestation last year, the Luxembourg Grand Prix. The original 14-mile layout of the German track established a reputation as one of the most demanding race tracks in the world, but the significantly smaller, new-style version - introduced for safety reasons - initially attracted some criticism for being a bit bland. However, since returning to the Formula One fold in 1995, after a ten-year absence, the drivers have learnt to appreciate the particular nature of this tighter circuit which has produced some exciting races. Only the Nurburgring's Start/Finish straight effectively runs along the path of the old circuit, which used to travel through the Eifel mountains. Chassis set-ups need to cater for the track's combination of high-speed straights, high-G curves and slow corners. Medium downforce is the norm. During last year's Luxembourg Grand Prix weekend, Mika Hakkinen gave a hint of things to come, when his blistering lap time of 1:16.602 gave the new West McLaren Mercedes partnership its, and his, first ever pole position. While both Mika and David retired from the race, the performance of the MP4-12 gave the clearest indication that the team would be in a position to mount a strong challenge for honours in 1998. 'The Nurburgring is a tight twisty track,' said David Coulthard, 'and in some ways it is like the A1-Ring with a bit more grip. There are a couple of tricky corners which are taken at quite slow speeds and getting the balance right for the circuit will therefore be crucial for the weekend. We had an useful test at Magny Cours last week and as a result I am feeling very positive about the forthcoming race.' 'This race is a very busy one for our Partners.' Mika Hakkinen commented. 'The Mercedes-Benz stand is always full of spectators and you can sense the special atmosphere as you slow down for the chicane at that point. I am feeling very relaxed as we go into the final stage of the World Championship and naturally I am looking to win at the Luxembourg Grand Prix.' 'Despite the disappointment of Monza' said Ron Dennis, 'or maybe because of it, the team is more determined and focused than ever to be successful at the Luxembourg Grand Prix.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Mercedes , McLaren