San Marino GP: McLaren preview

Following a series of competitive performances during the opening three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the West McLaren Mercedes team returns to Europe for the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix, at the Imola circuit. Kimi's second ...

Following a series of competitive performances during the opening three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the West McLaren Mercedes team returns to Europe for the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix, at the Imola circuit. Kimi's second position in Brazil nine days ago sees the Finn lead the Drivers' Championship, with 24 points, whilst David lies in second with 15 points. West McLaren Mercedes also heads the Constructors' standings with 39 points.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"Although we were slightly disappointed with the final result of the Brazilian Grand Prix, it is only right that the correct finishing positions were identified and I am pleased for Giancarlo that he has secured his first Formula One victory, as following Malaysia I know how good that feels! Also, the three podium positions I have secured so far this season means that I am still leading the Drivers' World Championship, but we do understand that there is a long way to go."

"As with Interlagos, the Imola circuit runs in an anti-clockwise direction, but as the environment itself is less of an influence, for example lower ambient temperatures and a smoother surface, in principal this has less of an impact than it would at Brazil. Another characteristic of Imola is the varied elevation incorporated along the 3.665 mile/4.933 km track."

"The circuit also offers a fairly technical challenge, with fast straights broken up by a mix of medium speed and tight corners. This sees us run with a medium downforce set-up. The San Marino Grand Prix also marks the start of the European season, which has the added bonus of the teams operating with our bespoke trackside facilities that make life a little easier."

David Coulthard:

"It was a difficult weekend in Brazil from a number of perspectives, primarily the atrocious weather conditions and the circumstances in which the Grand Prix ended. As it was such an incident packed race, which was further illustrated with the announcement last Friday regarding the results, it was positive for myself, Kimi and the team to get both cars home in one piece, demonstrate competitiveness and secure a combined total of 13 valuable Championship points. We should highlight, however, that it was again another race weekend at which the entire package worked well and the car felt good, a theme we are looking to continue at the San Marino Grand Prix."

"I have always enjoyed driving at the Imola circuit, it is a track that seems to suit my driving style. In fact I have finished in the top six in the previous five years, and this is a trend that I am looking to further in 2003. The circuit is notoriously hard on brakes, due to the long, fast straights punctuated by corners, it also lacks genuine overtaking opportunities. Perhaps the best chance is at the Tosa hairpin. You can slipstream along the fast run down the Tamburello on the approach to the hairpin, only lifting slightly for the two chicanes, which are themselves fairly quick, before making your move under braking."

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren International

"It is fair to say that the West McLaren Mercedes team performed well over the entire race weekend in Brazil, which was a demonstration of the incremental progression we have made at each of the opening three events of 2003. We must now continue to push harder to ensure this process continues. With regards the result of the Brazilian race, a error was identified and the subsequent adjustment of the race result is therefore fully justifiable, our wholehearted congratulations go to Giancarlo and the Jordan team."

"We are fully aware of, and are in no way underestimating, the substantial challenge we will face over the 13 races that remain, and therefore it is too early to be thinking about the World Championships. However, the results to date have provided a solid base to build on through the rest of the year and an ideal circumstance in which to commence the European season."

"The strong showing of the MP4-17D is also allowing us the flexibility to fully optimise the performance of the MP4-18 before it is introduced. As previously indicated, we will only race the MP4-18 when it's faster and at least as reliable as the MP4-17D. As a result, at this time we are not in the position to provide an exact date, it will however be within the next month."

Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz motorsport

"The Imola circuit features a combination of fast sections, tight chicanes and slow corners. The weather in Italy will hopefully be better over the Easter weekend than it was at the previous Grand Prix at Interlagos, where both Kimi and David performed very well in treacherous conditions. The whole team will go on working hard to maintain our competitiveness during the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Jordan