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San Marino Grand Prix 3rd - 5th May 1996 The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team goes to Italy for the fifth round of the 1996 FIA Formula One World Championship greatly encouraged by...

San Marino Grand Prix 3rd - 5th May 1996

The Marlboro McLaren Mercedes team goes to Italy for the fifth round of the 1996 FIA Formula One World Championship greatly encouraged by David Coulthard's superb drive to third place in a vintage Grand Prix of Europe last weekend. The upbeat atmosphere filling the Marlboro McLaren Mercedes garage on Sunday evening was also strengthened by Mika Hakkinen's strong showing in the early part of the race.

"The testing programme we have been carrying out is starting to pay off," commented Ron Dennis, Managing Director of McLaren International. "There was a feeling in Germany that the team had definitely turned a corner, with a significant improvement made in the performance of both MP4/11 chassis and Mercedes FO110 engine." We will continue to work hard to confirm this trend in Italy."

Most Marlboro McLaren Mercedes personnel, as well as the cars, travelled directly from the Nurburgring circuit to the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, a typical small Italian town east of of the Appenine mountains, near Bologna. The electric atmosphere created by the tifosi, together with the Italian food and wine, makes this venue particularly popular with the Formula One teams, who have been racing there since 1981.

Until 1995, the 4.895km-long circuit was a high speed track, but its character was totally transformed by the chicanes which were introduced last year to slow the cards down. The Imola ciruit remains nevertheless faster than the Nurburgring and represents an extremely challenging venue for both drivers and cars.

Further developments will feature on the Marlboro McLaren Mercedes MP4/11 in Italy and the team expects to take another step forward as a result. Marlboro McLaren Mercedes will stay in Imola after the Grand Prix to resume its test programme, with Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard and Alain Prost all taking part.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Alain Prost
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren