US GP: McLaren preview

The world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway plays host to the United States Grand Prix, round nine of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship. The event has moved to a new June date, having previously taken place towards the end of the ...

The world-renowned Indianapolis Motor Speedway plays host to the United States Grand Prix, round nine of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The event has moved to a new June date, having previously taken place towards the end of the season, and is back-to-back with the Canadian Grand Prix, which was held last weekend. As a consequence the 2004 United States Grand Prix takes place only 14 days after this year's Indy 500, providing American motorsport fans with an impressive double-header and requiring a major logistical effort from the organisers.

Located 5 miles/8 kms North-West of Indianapolis, the Motor Speedway was originally built as a test track for the Detroit motor industry in the early 19th century. The circuit became a motorsport venue soon after and was paved with bricks. When the surface was covered with asphalt in the forties, a yard of bricks was left exposed on the start-finish line, which gave rise to the 'Brickyard' nickname.

David Coulthard:

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of those venues, like Spa and Monaco, that has something a bit special about it. The track itself is formed of two very different sections and therefore demands a medium downforce configuration to maximise performance on the two extremes. We have the sweeping banking of the final corner that flows into the long, very quick front stretch of the Speedway oval, which sees us at full throttle for some 20 seconds."

"Due to the length of this section, you get a real sensation of the speed at which we are travelling, some 210 mph/ 335km/h. Of course we hit this speed at some other circuits, but not usually for this length of time. Its characteristics such as this, and the banking, that makes the event unique. At the end of this section, we then turn right into the tighter infield section that twists around the golf course."

Kimi Raikkonen:

"The United States Grand Prix attracts numerous US race fans and therefore always has a great atmosphere, which I of course enjoy! The weather of course played a major role in the outcome in 2003, hopefully as the Grand Prix has moved to June there will not be such changeable and unpredictable conditions during the race. Although it is quite tough on the teams, I am enjoying having race after race at the moment, and hopefully we will run well at Indy. I think that as with the Nürburgring, the Motor Speedway will be better suited to the characteristics of our car, as it is not an out and out speed track."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes

"Obviously the back-to-back schedule of the Canadian and US Grands Prix provide the team with a range of logistical challenges. The fact that two cars completed the Canadian Grand Prix without major damage will enable the team to complete the necessary rebuilds within the time allowed and ensure that we are well prepared for the forthcoming race. We have won in Indianapolis in all its various guises, although we recognize with our current form we are realistically aiming for some solid point finishes."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The combination of the 1.7 kilometres long oval section with the slow and tricky infield makes the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit quite a challenge for the chassis, the engine and the tyres. One unique feature of the circuit lay out is its long high speed part of 23 seconds of full throttle. In total 55 per cent of the lap are run on full throttle."

-mclaren-

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