French GP McLaren preview

FRENCH GRAND PRIX 1998 - PREVIEW The West McLaren Mercedes team travel to France with a comprehensive lead in the Constructors Championship. As the Formula One season enters the half way stage Mika Hakkinen heads up the ...

FRENCH GRAND PRIX 1998 - PREVIEW The West McLaren Mercedes team travel to France with a comprehensive lead in the Constructors Championship. As the Formula One season enters the half way stage Mika Hakkinen heads up the Drivers' Championship with a strong challenge not only from his team mate David Coulthard, but also from Michael Schumacher, who has crept into second place. Having had a disappointing outing in Canada the team will be looking for a good result in Magny Cours, venue of the French Grand Prix. The team completed a four day test at this circuit last week, which saw both Mika and David focusing on tyre testing and set up work. An idiosyncrasy of Magny Cours is that the track has a habit of changing characteristics from one day to the next, more so than at other circuits. This means that despite the test completed last week, many parameters will need adjusting over the race weekend in order to optimise the set up once again. The track also tends to be at its coolest at the beginning and end of the day which means that qualifying may prove interesting. With the knowledge that Goodyear tyres perform better in cooler conditions, the Bridgestone runners believe that this characteristic will play to their advantage during the mid-day qualifying session. "The track is difficult to race on because the fast corners are very tight with long loops and the final corner is ridiculous!" said David. "The circuit is not situated in the most interesting part of France, which is a shame, but it means that there is nothing to take your mind off the job in hand." "We had a good test here last week," said Mika, "and Magny Cours is a circuit which seems to suit my style. However, the gap between us and the other teams is becoming increasingly narrow so we have to focus on what we are trying to achieve all the time." "This weekend we will be striving for reliability," said Ron Dennis. "There is little point in having the quickest car on the track if you do not finish. Winning will be our aim and, with all the hard work the team have done, we will be very hopeful of achieving that result."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Mercedes , McLaren