European GP: McLaren preview

The European Grand Prix, round seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, sees the Formula One fraternity travel to the Nürburgring in Germany, for the first of two home races this season for Mercedes-Benz. Set in countryside some 50 ...

The European Grand Prix, round seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, sees the Formula One fraternity travel to the Nürburgring in Germany, for the first of two home races this season for Mercedes-Benz.

Set in countryside some 50 miles/80 kms south-west of Cologne, the Nürburgring stands in the shadow of the epic Nordschleife. Built 77 years ago it was the first permanent racing circuit in Germany, and also operated as a test track. The legendary 14 mile/22 km drive through the Eiffel mountains regularly staged the German Grand Prix, before safety concerns saw the race transferred to Hockenheim in 1977. In 1984 the revised track returned to the calendar, in the form of a modern Grand Prix venue, and has held the European Grand Prix on six occasions since.

David Coulthard:

"After the disappointing end to my Grand Prix in Monaco, I am now looking forward to getting back to racing at the Nürburgring. The European Grand Prix as an event is a completely different concept to the Monaco Grand Prix. The circuit is fairly flowing in nature with a good mix of corner types. There are larger run-off areas, longer straights, the track is wider and overtaking is possible."

"The Nürburgring is famed for understeer, so a key focus in the early stages of the event will be working on minimising this effect. It is also fairly smooth, which tends to give good grip so a medium downforce configuration is the norm. We obviously have had a quick turnaround for Europe following Monaco on Sunday. It doesn't, however, make too much of a difference to the drivers, but is more a massive logistical effort for the teams to move all the equipment over."

Kimi Raikkonen:

"The 3.199 mile/5.148km Nürburgring is a medium-fast circuit with a number of overtaking possibilities. It is therefore fairly interesting to drive and often leads to exciting racing. The main passing chances are before Veedol Chicane and the hairpin in the Mercedes Arena. The Veedol chicane is a tough braking point as we drop from the highest speed at the Nürburgring, of some 190mph/300km/h, to 60mph/96km/h, and it is under braking where you can try and pass. You then have to drive aggressively over the kerbs to carry as much speed as possible through the corner."

"The European Grand Prix has also historically been affected by unpredictable weather, which of course adds another element to the race. We always have good support especially from the Mercedes Grandstand at this event, as it is a home race for Mercedes-Benz."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, West McLaren Mercedes:

"The European Grand Prix is the second in a series of six races that are taking place in an intensive eight week period that began in Monte Carlo last weekend. In this time the West McLaren Mercedes team is also conducting two test sessions as we continue our structured development programme. There is of course not the opportunity to test in the week between Monaco and Europe, so our focus this week has primarily been working on our preparations for the Nürburgring. As a consequence we are not expecting any major performance steps from Monaco."

Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"The medium fast Nürburgring circuit is challenging for the aerodynamic efficiency of the car as well as the engine. The track features a mixture of fast and slow sections and about 60 percent of a lap is run under full throttle. The Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit, which was inaugurated exactly 20 years ago, has always been notorious for its changeable weather conditions, which has led to some exciting races in the past. The entire team is focusing their work on producing a much improved reliability of our package for the first of the two Mercedes-Benz home Grands Prix this year."

-mclaren-

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