San Marino GP: McLaren preview

The San Marino Grand Prix sees the Formula One fraternity return to Europe for race four of the 2006 season. Team McLaren Mercedes travels to the Imola circuit, which is located near Bologna in Northern Italy, following a three week break that...

The San Marino Grand Prix sees the Formula One fraternity return to Europe for race four of the 2006 season.

Team McLaren Mercedes travels to the Imola circuit, which is located near Bologna in Northern Italy, following a three week break that has seen the team test on two occasions, at Paul Ricard and the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona.

The return to Europe also sees a return to the use of the team's race transporters and Team Communications Centre. Team McLaren Mercedes takes three main race transporters to each European Grand Prix in addition to a spares truck.

The transporters are used for the race engineering team, Mercedes-Benz HPE and spares respectively. The fourth truck carries the MP4-21s to the circuits, along with other more bulky items, such as the fuel rig and Lista cabinets.

All four are Mercedes-Benz Actros, 16 litre, V8 engined trucks, and they left the McLaren Technology Centre for Imola on Monday April 17th. In addition, the Team Communications Centre is transported to each race using seven articulated trucks.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"We had a solid session at the test in Barcelona last week, we were able to complete the MP4-21 development work planned for the session and continue the progress made by Pedro and Gary at the Paul Ricard test the week before. It will be good to see how the modifications will be on the race track."

"The biggest factors at Imola are hard braking and acceleration, because of all the chicanes and the short straights in between them. This also means that performance of traction, braking and braking stability is key for this race."

"To get quick lap times at Imola, you have to really attack the kerbs and because they are so high, probably more so than at most tracks, we have to keep the car quite soft so it rides the kerbs well."

"The best place to overtake at Imola would be the Tosa hairpin, both under braking and also exiting, and you also tend to see a lot of cars running wide providing more opportunities."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"It was good to test last week, as we have been able to cover some good pre-race set-up work for San Marino and the car felt good. Imola is a very technical and demanding circuit, so the set-up of the car is particularly important at this track to be fast."

"It is a medium to high downforce track, because of all the slow corners and chicanes, also there isn't really one very long straight that would demand a lower downforce configuration."

"Imola is one of three anti-clockwise tracks we race on. It does place an extra strain on your body, particularly your neck. However it's not really a big deal, I have been working with my trainer to ensure there are no issues."

"There are a couple of great corners at San Marino, such as the Piratella and Acque Minerali, and you need to make sure you push and carry as much speed through them as possible, they should be quite fun with the V8 engine!"

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"The three week gap between the Australian and San Marino Grands Prix has allowed us to complete six intensive days of testing prior to racing at Imola this week. Between Kimi, Juan Pablo, Pedro and Gary, we completed over 4,797 kilometres and the test team have pushed hard to bring further modifications to the MP4-21 online."

"The gap has also allowed the race team to recover from the demanding first three fly-ways and everyone within Team McLaren Mercedes is now looking forward to getting back to the Championships and putting in a positive result at San Marino. We now move to Imola for race four of the season, it is a medium speed track, which has a tendency to be tough on cars."

"A major factor of the track is the high kerbs and the requirement of the drivers to use the kerbs to be fast. As a result, the test team has also spent some time working on dampers specifically for this race, to ensure we have the performance we need."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Due to the stop-and-go nature, with many braking and acceleration manoeuvres, the Imola circuit's characteristics are quite different from those of this year's first three races."

"About 65 percent of a lap will be run under full throttle; this means almost two thirds of a lap. This is similar to the first two races this year in Bahrain and Malaysia, whilst the full throttle percentage in Australia was more than 70. However, due to the four Safety Car periods, the strain on the engines there was less than usual."

"The race at Imola will take place at the end of a three-week break which was packed with testing and saw us completing a total of almost 4,800 kilometres at Paul Ricard and Barcelona."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren