The Formula One fraternity travels to Austria for round six of the 2003 Championship at the picturesque A1 Ring. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives in Austria leading both the FIA Constructors' Championship with 51 points, and the Drivers' ...
The Formula One fraternity travels to Austria for round six of the 2003 Championship at the picturesque A1 Ring. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives in Austria leading both the FIA Constructors' Championship with 51 points, and the Drivers' table, with Kimi Raikkonen on 32 points. David Coulthard lies in fifth position with 19 points.
"The last Grand Prix in Spain was obviously difficult for me and the team, but that is racing and I am now looking forward to the Austrian race and hopefully scoring some points towards my Championship tally. The A1 Ring has a very similar style to a kart track. It is short, just 2.6 miles / 4.3 kms in length, with quick, fast straights that have tight corners at each end. Because of its length, it has the quickest lap time of the current Formula One circuits."
"Other characteristics of the track include a fairly low grip surface and some dramatic gradient changes throughout the course of the lap. The fast straight, tight corner combination requires a set-up compromise so that the car is quick on the whole lap, it also means that the circuit is quite tough on brakes. Although you don't quite hit top speeds you see at say Monza of 300km/h plus, it is a quick circuit and therefore sees a high proportion of full throttle."
"Not an ideal weekend in Barcelona, however the car felt good on race day, which is a positive to take and I am now looking forward to Austria, a race I always enjoy. The A1 Ring often comes in for criticism, but it offers numerous overtaking opportunities and seems to produce entertaining Grands Prix. This is due to the combination of fast straights and slow corners. The two main overtaking opportunities are the first two corners of Castrol and Remus. Castrol is one of those tight first corners that is renowned for incidents at the start of the race."
"The circuit is another that suits my style of driving and consequently I have a good record there, which is something I am looking forward to continuing this year. Since Formula One returned to Austria in 1997, I have secured one victory, four second positions and I finished sixth in last year's race. "
Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director McLaren International:
"It was a disappointing weekend for the West McLaren Mercedes team at the Spanish Grand Prix, but although we did not score any points, we remain in strong positions in both Championships and there is still a long way to go this season. Consistency is key in all aspects of the team and we are working hard to achieve this across the board."
"The A1 Ring is a significantly modified version of the legendary Österreichring, which although was the scene for some epic races was taken off the calendar as a result of safety issues in 1988. Formula One returned to Austria at the new track in 1997, and since then the West McLaren Mercedes team has taken 50% of the victories, and has not finished out of the top six, a trend we are looking to continue this year."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedez-Benz Motorsport:
"The A1-Ring is the circuit where we have seen a lot of overtaking manoeuvres during the past few years, especially at the first two tight uphill righthand bends. The track's surface offers little grip and the slow corners at the end of fast straights are hard on the brakes. The Austrian Grand Prix is also one of the toughest for the engine with 72 percent of full throttle per lap."