Canadian GP: McLaren preview

The Canadian Grand Prix marks the halfway point of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, and the West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal looking to consolidate its position at the top of the ...

The Canadian Grand Prix marks the halfway point of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship, and the West McLaren Mercedes team travels to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal looking to consolidate its position at the top of the Constructors' table, with 73 points, a lead the team reclaimed at the Monaco Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen also heads the Drivers' Championship with 48 points, whilst teammate David Coulthard lies in sixth with 25 points.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"It was a good, solid result at Monaco, providing some valuable points towards our Championship total, I was of course disappointed not to win the race, but again the car felt good. I think I could have won in Monaco had it not been for traffic, but I am now looking forward to the Canadian Grand Prix."

"Before leaving for Montreal, I got my hands on the MP4-18 for the first time last week in Barcelona, which was great, I enjoyed driving it for two days and am now looking forward to its race debut. Because the track is only used for this event, it is generally very dirty at the start of the weekend, which means low grip during Friday's sessions in Canada. Unfortunately this may affect me particularly as I will be first out for first qualifying, but as rubber is laid down over the weekend the grip levels improve and by second qualifying they are usually much better."

"Although the circuit is part street, part road course, it has an overall feel of a street circuit as the armco are so close to the track. However the track doesn't have the slow pace of Monaco, as we reach one of the fastest speeds of the year along the main back straight, achieving some 318 km/h before braking hard for the chicane. I have finished in fourth position in both Canadian Grands Prix I have driven in, and am hoping to move further up the points positions this year."

David Coulthard:

"Obviously it was excellent to have my debut run in the MP4-18 last week at the Barcelona test alongside Kimi and Alex, after all the hype it was fantastic to be able to drive it and it felt good. I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at Jerez following Canada to continue its test programme."

"As with Monaco, the Canadian Grand Prix is an event I particularly enjoy, it is probably one of the most popular races on the calendar. There is always a great atmosphere generated by the spectators, Montreal is a fantastic city, and with the circuit being located so close to the downtown area, it is one of the races where you are actually able to visit the host city. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve itself is located on a man-made island in the St Lawrence Seaway, and the track basically follows the perimeter of the island."

"The main feature of the circuit is long fast straights broken up by tight slower corners. As a consequence the Canadian Grand Prix often has high rates of attrition as the layout is tough on the cars and can make it difficult to build up a rhythm. However it also leads to a number of genuine overtaking opportunities, primarily on the approach to the L'Epingle. In addition to this the track is pretty bumpy in places, which can in turn affect the performance of the car."

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren International:

"It is pleasing for the West McLaren Mercedes team to arrive at the Canadian Grand Prix, which marks the mid-point of the 2003 season, leading both the Constructors' and Drivers' World Championships. We are continuing to work hard in the factory and on the test track to ensure we maintain a strong challenge over the second half of the season."

"Further development has been undertaken to both the MP4-17D and the MP4-18, which had its second test last week and again received positive feedback. The contrasting features of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve leads us to use a medium downforce configuration, its characteristics are also notoriously hard on the cars, with the performance of the engine and brakes of particular importance."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"To maintain Kimi's lead in the Drivers' World Championship and to regain top spot in the Constructors' ranking at Monaco just before the halfway mark of the season was of course a positive outcome of this race. The forthcoming Canadian Grand Prix will face our team with a completely different challenge."

"The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve features a bumpy surface, and the succession of long straights, tight chicanes and hairpins is very demanding on the brakes. Due to the fast circuit layout, which allows top speeds of more than 300km/h at several parts of the track, almost 60 percent of the lap is on full throttle. We always perform well in Canada and all the team are looking forward to this race."


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