West McLaren Mercedes travels to Budapest, following the three week break from the FIA Formula One World Championship, for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team arrives in Eastern Europe in third place in the Constructors' Championship with 103...
West McLaren Mercedes travels to Budapest, following the three week break from the FIA Formula One World Championship, for the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team arrives in Eastern Europe in third place in the Constructors' Championship with 103 points. Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard lie in third and seventh in the Drivers' table with 62 and 41 points respectively.
"Obviously it was a disappointing end to my race so early during the Mobil 1 German Grand Prix, but we arrive at the Hungaroring refreshed after the short break and looking to score as many points as possible. During the break I spent some time relaxing with my friends and family in Europe and also went to a team promotion in Bratislava to play in an exhibition ice hockey game with a Slovakian 'all stars' team, which was great fun."
"The Hungaroring is another track where qualifying is even more important, as there are not many overtaking opportunities. It is also a very dirty circuit as it is not used very often, so the track will probably get quicker as it becomes cleaner during first qualifying on Friday. This also means that you are punished more if you go off line in Hungary due to the dust."
"With all the thousands of Finnish fans that come to the Hungarian Grand Prix, it is like a home race for me. The Finns are all so enthusiastic and it creates an exciting atmosphere, I am looking forward to driving in front of them again this year."
"I am determined to build on my result in Germany at the Hungarian Grand Prix. I enjoy driving the circuit, we have a competitive car, there are often high ambient temperatures, which are good conditions for the Michelins, so I am feeling positive and looking forward to the race. There have been a couple of modifications to the circuit, primarily the lengthening of the main straight, which will mean we will be able to build up a greater speed on the drag down to the first corner."
"In previous years it has been very hard to overtake at the Hungaroring and the revisions have been designed with the aim of increasing the opportunities, but we shall have to wait and see. During the break I took part in a couple of promotions early on, including a fantastic day spent at the Cowes regatta at the helm of the Hugo BOSS yacht in a race, and then spent some time relaxing on my boat at a slightly different pace, whilst maintaining my training programme throughout."
Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren International:
"During the three week break, the West McLaren Mercedes team has been working hard at the factory to maximise our performance for Hungary and the following three rounds that remain of the 2003 season. The Hungaroring presents us with a number of interesting challenges. It is a technical circuit, purpose built for Formula One."
"It has a tight, slippery nature and an abrasive surface. This, combined with the constant cornering, can lead to high rates of tyre degradation, and therefore heightens the importance of the performance of the Michelin tyres. Following the Hungarian Grand Prix, we have another three week break until the Italian event, during which West McLaren Mercedes will be resuming our test programme at Monza in the first week of September."
Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:
"During the three week break since the German Grand Prix, the entire team has been busy preparing for the last four Grands Prix of the season. The Hungaroring is one of the slowest circuits on the calendar and features a narrow track with slow and medium fast corners. The tarmac is often dusty and therefore offers only little grip especially on Friday and Saturday when the track is still green."
"The circuit is notorious for its lack of overtaking opportunities. This means that the qualifying will be very important for a good race result. The weather at Budapest at that time of the year is usually very hot, so that the Hungarian Grand Prix is a real challenge for the drivers and their machinery, and the expected high track temperatures will have a great influence on the tyre performance. About 50 percent of a lap are run with full throttle."