Brazilian GP: McLaren preview

Brazil's Interlagos circuit, situated in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, hosts the third Grand Prix of the 2003 FIA Formula One season. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives in South America looking to build on the victories secured in the opening...

Brazil's Interlagos circuit, situated in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, hosts the third Grand Prix of the 2003 FIA Formula One season. The West McLaren Mercedes team arrives in South America looking to build on the victories secured in the opening two rounds of the World Championship, which sees the team top the Constructors' table with 26 points. Kimi and David are also occupying first and second positions in the Drivers' Championship, with 16 and 10 points respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"It was an amazing feeling to win my first Grand Prix in Malaysia, it is very difficult to put into words, but I am very happy and can say that it is a feeling I am looking forward to repeating in the future with West McLaren Mercedes! Securing your maiden win in Formula One is something you think about from the moment you start driving, and to achieve an ambition you have worked so hard for and held for so many years provides such satisfaction, and an element of relief of course. In addition to this, the car felt good and was handling well all weekend, so I am now looking forward to getting back to racing in Brazil."

"Following the Malaysian Grand Prix, I travelled back to Europe to take part in an intensive four-day test at Barcelona. Consequently I had a quiet celebrations with a couple of friends in Switzerland, before travelling to the test, at which the team put in some 2200 kms. David and myself were in attendance, with Pedro de la Rosa joining us for a couple of days, so we could recover from the jet-lag and as Alex was not feeling well."

"The Interlagos track provides a number of real overtaking opportunities, the main one is under braking into the first corner, however you have to be careful on the opening lap as it is often the scene of incidents. The circuit also offers a range of challenges, with a varied combination of gradient changes, medium speed corners and fast straight."

David Coulthard:

"The Brazilian Grand Prix is another physically demanding event, however in a different way to Malaysia. The primary factor is that we run anticlockwise, which is the opposite direction to the majority of the tracks we race and test on. As a consequence, your body is subjected to different forces, with the main impact felt in the neck area as you corner."

"We always tend to have a heavy focus in training on the neck muscles during the course of the season, to ensure they can handle the unique pressures they are put under during a race, we just have to adapt slightly in the build-up to the Brazilian race. In addition to this, the surface of the Interlagos track is uneven, which can not only lead to discomfort in the cars given the low ride height, but also demands that your reflexes are even more heightened then normal, as the bumps can disrupt the movement of the car."

"I believe, however, that there has been some resurfacing at Interlagos, so we shall have to wait and see. It is also usually fairly hot in Brazil, but it is a different type of heat to Malaysia so it tends to be less sapping. Another outstanding feature of the Brazilian Grand Prix is the fans, they are among the most enthusiastic we see, so I hope we will be able to put on another entertaining race for them. Their genuine passion for the sport is usually demonstrated in dramatic style on race day, when they queue for miles to get into the circuit."

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren International:

"Kimi's faultless victory in Malaysia was a further demonstration that West McLaren Mercedes has a package and two drivers that are capable of winning races, and we hope we will continue to do so during the course of the season. There are still areas where significant improvement can be made with the MP4-17D, for example reliability, which we are currently working hard to increase, and qualifying performance, however overall the trend is in the right direction."

"Qualifying is of particular importance in Brazil as a consequence of the uphill start-finish straight. You need to qualify well to ensure you have the advantage of not having such a steep gradient from which to make your start. The Brazilian event is historically successful for the team, McLaren has won the race ten times, which is more than any other Constructor and this is a trend we would like to continue in 2003."

Norbert Haug, Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Interlagos with its long uphill straight, twisty infield section and extremely bumpy surface is a very challenging circuit for the drivers, the chassis and the engine. Following our successes in the first two Grands Prix of the year our main target now is to build up on these results, but I wouldn't say that our Malaysia performance will now be our guaranteed benchmark for the circuits to come. We have a strong package, very good drivers and a very focused and determined team. Having said that I am nevertheless convinced that probably as many as four teams can fight for race wins in the next couple of races which will be very good for the sport."


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