German GP: MF1 preview

Encouraged by the progress made during three days of comprehensive testing in Jerez, Spain, Midland Formula 1 Racing heads to Hockenheim for Round 12 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship -- the German Grand Prix. The M16 race cars at...

Encouraged by the progress made during three days of comprehensive testing in Jerez, Spain, Midland Formula 1 Racing heads to Hockenheim for Round 12 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship -- the German Grand Prix.

The M16 race cars at this event will feature an evolution of the revised front suspension geometry that debuted previously in France, further updates to the rear suspension, and some aerodynamic developments that were successfully evaluated at last week's test.

Although nowhere near as long or fast as it was during its original 8-km configuration in 1939, the modern Hockenheimring has been a popular circuit among drivers since becoming the permanent home of the German GP in 1977.

Despite undergoing extensive modifications in 2002 that eliminated its long, sweeping runs through the forest, the current 4.574-km-long track still possesses enough high-speed sections and technical corners to allow for several overtaking opportunities.

Tiago Monteiro:

"I'm looking forward to Hockenheim, as I like the atmosphere at the circuit. It's probably the best in the world, especially for the spectators in the stadium section. Even as a driver, you can't escape the enthusiasm and I'm hoping there will be plenty of fans there, even if most of them will be cheering for a certain German driver!"

"It's likely to be a very hot race that will be tough on tyres and drivers, especially if we reach the temperatures we had in Magny-Cours again. We've been working hard with Bridgestone and I'm feeling confident about our tyres for this weekend."

"We had a positive test at Jerez last week and worked on a number of updates, especially with the suspension. We also ran a major tyre programme in preparation for the next three races and found some good aero improvements, which will hopefully help us continue to close the gap to the cars ahead."

Christijan Albers:

"I really enjoy the two German races, perhaps because they are the closest grand prix events to Holland, so we always get a good turnout of Dutch supporters. The atmosphere in Hockenheim is always lively; the fans are really into it and the noise from the grandstand stadium section is just incredible. The circuit itself is also one of my favourites - I've raced on it many times during my DTM, F3000 and F3 days, so I know the track quite well."

"We had a good test last week in Jerez that provided us with lots of useful data on our recent upgrades and tyres, so I'm expecting us to be more competitive than usual. If we can find the right set-up early on Friday, we should have a reasonable shot at a strong race."

Markus Winkelhock:

"For me, it will be a very exciting weekend because I live only one hour away from Hockenheim, so I guess you could say it's my home race! I'm really looking forward to driving the M16 again on Friday; it's been a while since I last had the opportunity. You can be sure I will try to do a good job and support the team as much as I can."

"I'm in good shape, having done a lot of fitness training recently, so I think that will benefit my performance significantly. I also think it will be a bit easier for me to post better times in Hockenheim than it was in Bahrain and Australia, because at least here I know the track, which is helpful considering how little time we have to test all the tyres and find a good set-up."

Colin Kolles, Managing Director:

"We took another good step forward in Jerez last week with regard to increasing mechanical grip and improving our aero. These are relatively small gains, but as long as we keep reducing our rivals' advantage and moving closer to the front, that's the most important thing. If we can qualify well in Hockenheim and get both cars to the finish, we stand a good chance of surprising some people."

James Key, Technical Director:

"Hockenheim has a real mix of corners speeds and two long straights, which tends to flatten out downforce level options for optimum lap time. So we will be looking to find the best balance of sector times we can, particularly between the second sector and the winding complex in the last sector."

"As always, much will depend on track grip and tyre selection. Our partners at Bridgestone provided us with a good race tyre in Magny-Cours in very hot conditions, so if the current hot weather trends continue, we hope to have selected similarly effective options for Hockenheim."

"The M16 will have some new aero updates, which we tested in Jerez last week, as well as some additional suspension and setup options newly available for Hockenheim , so our development programme continues to bear fruit, race by race."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Christijan Albers , Tiago Monteiro , Markus Winkelhock , Colin Kolles