MF1Racing arrives in Melbourne - the third and final leg of the season's first 'flyaway' block of races - refocused and ready to compete at the Australian Grand Prix. The two-week gap since the previous race has allowed the team sufficient time...
MF1Racing arrives in Melbourne - the third and final leg of the season's first 'flyaway' block of races - refocused and ready to compete at the Australian Grand Prix.
The two-week gap since the previous race has allowed the team sufficient time to sort out the mechanical issues that forced both drivers to perform manual launches in Malaysia.
Markus Winkelhock returns for his second Friday testing and reserve stint with the team after an impressive debut in Bahrain.
Improved reliability, coupled with some subtle performance enhancements, should boost the M16's ability to cope with the Albert Park street circuit's brake-burning combination of short straights and low- to medium-speed corners.
"I love this city, and I have very fond memories of this circuit. This was, after all, where I made my F1 debut last year. I tend to like street circuits - this one and Monaco are the only two on the calendar that use public roads - because they're unforgiving and they give the drivers a chance to make more of a difference."
"I also think this track suits our car a little better than the previous two. Downforce is still a big factor, but there isn't as much of an emphasis on straight-line aerodynamic efficiency. We've made big gains in that department since last year, but nobody sits still in Formula 1, and we still have some work to do."
"But if we've done our homework and the car is running the way that it should, I'm pretty confident we can have a much better race here."
"Unlike Tiago, my first memories of this track are not so nice! I retired with transmission problems after only 16 laps, so I'd rather forget about that. But I'm really looking forward to this year's race, and fighting alongside the team to get some more performance out of the car."
"I really think we're going to do better here, because our car tends to work better on this type of track. This is a really hard-braking circuit, and our stability under braking keeps improving all the time, so I expect to have some good battles."
"There should be some good wheel-to-wheel racing, with plenty of overtaking opportunities. Spectators should enjoy this race, and hopefully, we will, too!"
Markus Winkelhock, Reserve Driver:
"This is a similar situation to Bahrain, in that I've never been here before, so everything is new. I've tried to familiarise myself with the circuit by doing some laps on Playstation and watching a recording of last year's race, and I think that was quite helpful. I'm also going to do a few laps on foot or by bike, examining all the corners carefully, so hopefully that will speed up the process a bit."
"I'm going to have to take it easy on my first few laps, though, because unlike Bahrain, there aren't any wide run-off areas - the walls are quite close to the track, so you can't afford to make any mistakes. I may not have actually driven here before, but just from looking at it, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this track."
Dominic Harlow, Head of Race and Test Engineering:
"From a technical point of view, Melbourne represents a different challenge from the previous two races. This is a street circuit that's put together specifically for this weekend, so it has its own set of demands on the cars and drivers. It tends to start off quite 'green' [slippery] and then improve a lot during the weekend."
"We've got quite a few new parts for this event, so we're hopeful for some improved performance, both from the engine and chassis side of things. The weather here tends to be more unpredictable than at most circuits, so if any rain comes along, we'll be sure to take advantage of those conditions."