Austrian GP McLaren preview

The tenth round of the FIA Formula One Championship takes place at the A1 Ring in Austria and West McLaren Mercedes aims to claim another one-two victory to further underline the team's Championship potential. After an impressive performance in...

The tenth round of the FIA Formula One Championship takes place at the A1 Ring in Austria and West McLaren Mercedes aims to claim another one-two victory to further underline the team's Championship potential. After an impressive performance in the French Grand Prix 10 days ago, where David Coulthard claimed the honours with Mika Hakkinen running a close second, the team closed the gap in the Constructor's Championship to six points. David remains second in the Drivers' Championship with 44 points while Mika is third with 38 points.

The 2.684 miles/4.321 KM A1 Ring hosts the 23rd Austrian Grand Prix, which will take place over 71 laps and the event will be David's 100th Formula One race.

The very first Formula One Grand Prix in Austria took place in 1964 at Zeltweg after, which there was a break of five years before the event moved to the famous Osterreichring where it was run between 1970 and 1987. However a mixture of increasing safety concerns and commercial pressures saw the Austrian Grand Prix disappear from the Championship until 1997 when the A1 Ring made its Formula One debut. The A1 Ring is an updated and shorter version of the old Osterreichring incorporating sections of the famous track.

McLaren has won the race in Austria a total of four times ? the first victory being in 1984 with Niki Lauda and the latest two years ago when Mika and David finished a notable one-two. Last year's race saw West McLaren Mercedes claim second and third with Mika putting in an outstanding performance after a first-lap incident saw the Finn ending up at the back of the field!

In preparation for the race, West McLaren Mercedes conducted a four day testing programme at the Mugello track in Italy last week. West McLaren Mercedes' third driver Olivier Panis tested all week with David joining him on Thursday. It was the first time the West McLaren Mercedes team tested at Mugello.

DAVID COULTHARD
'This year's Austrian Grand Prix is very special for me since its my 100th Formula One race and after the result in France I'm completely focused on another victory. I have performed well at the A1 Ring in the past but after finishing second for the past three years its about time that I go one better.'

MIKA HAKKINEN
'The A1 Ring is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and consists of a few long straights and some tight corners, which makes it a real challenge, and there are quite a few good overtaking opportunities. Having had a short break from testing last week I'm feeling in fantastic shape for this weekend.'

RON DENNIS
'Our one-two result in France was a real boost for the entire West McLaren Mercedes team. We want to continue performing at our optimum level and if we do we will leave Austria with even more points.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Olivier Panis , Niki Lauda
Teams Mercedes , McLaren