Japanese GP McLaren preview

The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Japan for the final round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship, looking to end the season on a high at the Suzuka circuit. At the recent SAP United States Grand Prix Mika Hakkinen secured his...

The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Japan for the final round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship, looking to end the season on a high at the Suzuka circuit. At the recent SAP United States Grand Prix Mika Hakkinen secured his 20th career victory and the 134 win for the McLaren team. Mika was joined on the podium by David Coulthard, who took third, a result which saw the West McLaren Mercedes team take second place in the Constructors' Championship.

David's current points tally of 61, seven ahead of third place Rubens Barrichello, means that David is secure in second place in the Drivers' Championship, unless Rubens takes victory and David finishes fifth or below.

Since the Indianapolis race the team has been testing at Barcelona with Alex Wurz, Darren Turner and Marcel Fässler, the Mercedes-Benz driver who currently lies fifth in the DTM series, at the wheel. Alex topped the time sheets on both Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October, securing the fastest time of the week on Friday, with 1.18:822.

McLaren has an impressive record at the Japanese Grand Prix, having won the event six times, which is more than any other constructor. James Hunt took the first victory for the team in 1977 and Ayrton Senna claimed the top spot on the podium twice, in 1988 and 1993. Recent successes in 1998 and 1999 for Mika, saw the Finn take consecutive Drivers' World Championships, in dramatic title deciders at the Suzuka circuit.

The Japanese Grand Prix took place for the first time in 1976 at the Mount Fuji circuit where it was held for two years. Following a ten-year absence, the race was reinstated in 1987 at Suzuka. Due to the event taking place in the calendar towards the end of the season, the Japanese Grand Prix has seen numerous memorable races, with championships often being decided at the track.

DAVID COULTHARD
"Suzuka is one of my favourite tracks as it's a classic and challenging Formula One circuit. I am arriving in Japan with the aim of winning the race and securing second position in the Drivers' Championship. The team is introducing some new developments at the race, so hopefully we will be strong."

MIKA HAKKINEN
"Following the fantastic result at Indianapolis, I am very much looking forward to the Japanese Grand Prix, which has been a special event for me since I claimed my two Drivers' World Championship titles there. As the last race before I take my sabbatical year, I will be going flat out to try and secure a hat-trick of victories for 2001 and hopefully put on an exciting race for my loyal fans."

RON DENNIS
"The outcome of the SAP United States Grand Prix was a demonstration of the hard work and development undertaken by the West McLaren Mercedes team, and we continue to remain determined and focused on achieving the required result in Japan."

The unique and technical figure-of-eight Suzuka circuit is located between Osaka and Nagoya, South West of Tokyo and is the second longest track on the calendar.

Originally constructed as a test track, the 3.644m / 5.864km circuit can lead to high tyre degradation and requires a medium to high downforce configuration.

-McLaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Darren Turner , Marcel Fassler , Ayrton Senna , James Hunt
Teams Mercedes , McLaren