European GP: McLaren preview

Formula 1 arrives in Germany next week for round 10 of the enthralling and ultra competitive 2007 World Championship. The European Grand Prix, which takes place at the Nurburgring, is Mercedes-Benz's home race. Fernando Alonso and Lewis...

Formula 1 arrives in Germany next week for round 10 of the enthralling and ultra competitive 2007 World Championship. The European Grand Prix, which takes place at the Nurburgring, is Mercedes-Benz's home race.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton's second and third positions in the Santander British Grand Prix last weekend have seen the team retain the lead of the Constructors' title, now with a total of 128 points. Lewis and Fernando also kept their positions in the Drivers' standings, with 70 and 58 points respectively.

FAST FACTS

How is Mercedes-Benz celebrating the 80th anniversary of its first win at the Nurburgring?

In every year since 1995 Mercedes-Benz has presented a special programme to entertain the visitors of the Mercedes-Benz grandstand between the practice and qualifying sessions. This creates additional value at no extra cost to the spectators. In Safety Driving Centre One close to the racetrack the visitors can experience driving lessons onboard the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class with a professional driving instructor.

The Mercedes-Benz vending area next to the paddock entrance is a meeting point for the fans of all teams: live music will be performed; pit stop contests will be held; interviews and autograph sessions, which will be announced well in advance, will be held with the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 drivers; Mercedes-Benz DTM drivers and members of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team management.

Why is the Nurburgring synonymous with Mercedes-Benz?

The track is located alongside the legendary Nordschleife. The now 20km drive through the Eifel mountains, which was built in 1927, was used as a test track for the German automotive industry and soon began to host the German Grand Prix. The first race, which took place 80 years ago on 19 June 1927, was won by Rudolf Caracciola in the Mercedes S sportscar. The Nurburgring was also the birth place of the Silver Arrow, when in June 1934 Manfred von Brauchitsch won the Eifel race in a Mercedes W25. In order to meet the weight limit of 750kg, the car's white paint work had to be stripped the night before the race exposing its silver aluminium body.

Where is the best overtaking opportunity?

Whilst there are a number of opportunities to overtake at the Nurburgring, the track is relatively tight so precision is key. Moves can be made into the downhill hairpin at turn seven and through the final chicane. In addition, the downward right hander of turn one that takes you into the Mercedes Arena often sees some action, with the wide entry funnelling the field into the tighter turn.

Fernando Alonso:

"We had a positive test at Spa this week, with a lot of dedication from everyone within the team. This season is very competitive and we all have to push hard to find more performance from every part of the car, particularly for the Nurburgring. It is not a track that depends on a particular part of the car and it is difficult to get the maximum performance here. The layout of the track, with the range of corners, means that you have to have a consistent balance for the different speeds, so there will be a lot of hard work with my engineers to get a competitive set-up."

"As with Silverstone there are some bumps here on the track, that you have to watch out for, and you have to use the kerbs very aggressively to be fast. You can overtake here. The changes to the track a couple of years ago have added another chance, under braking into the Mercedes Arena at the first corner."

"This will be my first time as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver racing in front of all the Mercedes-Benz employees from Stuttgart, who, I have been told, mostly sit in this section of the track. I am really looking forward to it and hope we can give them a good race. I've had a positive couple of races here over the past two years and I hope to continue that into the race next weekend."

Lewis Hamilton:

"Despite having a mixed weekend at Silverstone, we still came away from the track with a good haul of points and I am now really looking forward to getting back to the Nurburgring. I had a great weekend there last year, taking my first double win of the year and I enjoy driving the track. In 2005 I also won one race there in F3; my team ASM was powered by Mercedes-Benz, and as a result the support from the crowd was fantastic. It will be great to race in front of them again, this time in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car."

"I am sure the grandstands are going to be packed. The track has a very mixed layout, probably with more slow corners than anything else, so you need good traction for the acceleration on the exit. Through the first sector of the track you can really make up time, the corners are very slow so with good balance and under braking you can find the time."

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:

"Whilst we left Silverstone satisfied with the points Fernando and Lewis took from the race, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team exists to win. The team is approaching the race at the Nurburgring looking to win; the motivation is there, as is the performance with Fernando, Lewis, the MP4-22 and the team."

"We had a constructive test in Belgium, as I am sure have the other teams, and we now need to translate that onto the race track. We have to raise the bar internally with regards our performance and continue to ensure that if the win doesn't happen, then we take the maximum points total possible."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"We arrive at our home Grand Prix at the Nurburgring with a positive balance from the first half of the season. In the first nine of the 17 Grands Prix this year, Fernando and Lewis have achieved 15 out of 18 possible podium finishes, and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only team to score points in every race with both drivers."

"However, the most recent races in Magny-Cours and Silverstone showed that we have to improve further, and everybody in the team works to achieve this in a disciplined manner and with all their power. The Nurburgring and its history is synonymous with the brand and Mercedes-Benz's motor sport history, after Rudolf Caracciola won the opening race here 80 years ago, and the Silver Arrow was born at the Eifel race 73 years ago."

"With an attractive and popular entertainment programme next to the track at our home Grand Prix, we traditionally create additional value at no extra cost to our fans, as well as to those of the other teams who want to visit us. However we also do not forget that the most important part happens not next to, but on the track, and we will try to be at the very front at the Nurburgring."

-credit: mclaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Norbert Haug , Lewis Hamilton , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren