Spanish GP: McLaren preview

The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Barcelona for round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix. West McLaren Mercedes arrives in Spain at the top of both the Constructors' table, with 52 points, 20 ahead of...

The West McLaren Mercedes team travels to Barcelona for round five of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix. West McLaren Mercedes arrives in Spain at the top of both the Constructors' table, with 52 points, 20 ahead of the nearest competitor, with Kimi Raikkonen also leading the Drivers' standings with 32 points. Teammate David Coulthard lies in second position in the Drivers' Championship with 19 points.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"I am looking forward to Spanish Grand Prix, it is a circuit I enjoy driving on, and it is a good feeling to be entering the fifth race of the season leading the Championship. The Circuit de Catalunya has a number of overtaking opportunities during the 2.939 mile/4.730 km track, the main one is at the end of the very long pit-straight, you slipstream along and then overtake under braking into turn one. At the start of the race this corner, which is fairly narrow, has a tunnel effect and you often see first corner incidents."

"Another section of the track that often sees incidents is the tricky final corner that either takes you back onto the main straight or sees you feed off into the pits. Over the past few years we have seen a number of odd crashes here. West McLaren Mercedes has secured podium finishes in four out of the last five Spanish Grands Prix, and although my record there is not my best, I am looking to improve on it this year."

David Coulthard:

"The Spanish Grand Prix sees us return to racing in a clockwise direction following Imola and Interlagos, however the Circuit de Catalunya is still a tough physical challenge. This is primarily as a consequence of the numerous fast corners, which see immense pressure exerted on your body throughout much of the lap. The circuit was purpose-built for Formula One in the early nineties and as a consequence is a fairly technical circuit that offers a range of different challenges."

"These include the fast sweeping turns, a couple of slower much tighter corners and the mile long pit straight, which sees you reach speeds of over 300kmh/190mph. We often see good races at Barcelona, people still talk about the memorable battle between Senna and Mansell there in '91, along the lengthy pit straight. Nowadays, I would say perhaps this is as a consequence of the volume of testing that takes place at the circuit."

Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren International:

"Along with a number of other teams, West McLaren Mercedes conducts a significant amount of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya. As a consequence we arrive at the Spanish Grand Prix well equipped to optimise set-up during the early stages of the race weekend. This factor is of increased importance this year given the revisions to the schedule, that has led to less track time throughout the event."

"The Spanish Grand Prix is historically successful for McLaren, perhaps best illustrated by the fact the team has finished out of the points on only four occasions since its debut at the race in 1968. We conducted a positive test last week at Mugello in the MP4-17D, with Kimi, Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel. Although our primary focus is obviously the final stages of the MP4-18, we are continuing to work on additional updates on the MP4-17D, there is no complacency with this car, we are not standing still."

Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"With a successful first quarter of the season behind us, our team's target for the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix will be to continue heading in the right direction. The Barcelona circuit is the track with the highest test frequency during the year and is a well known quantity for our team. In preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix, Kimi, Alex and Pedro de la Rosa ran through an intensive test programme at Mugello, which like Barcelona is a very demanding and selective circuit for the chassis, the engine and specifically the tyres."

"From Tuesday to Thursday of last week, the three drivers covered 2000 test kilometres in total. I am expecting strong competition from at least three teams -- the Grand Prix will therefore be very challenging. Track conditions change very quickly at Montmelo, and only the teams which cope with these circumstances are in the position to win"

-mclaren-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Norbert Haug , Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Mercedes , McLaren