US GP: McLaren preview

Formula 1 heads to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for Sunday's United States Grand Prix, round 10 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The United States Grand Prix has taken place at seven different tracks, Sebring,...

Formula 1 heads to the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for Sunday's United States Grand Prix, round 10 of the 2006 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The United States Grand Prix has taken place at seven different tracks, Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Long Beach, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix before relocating to Indianapolis in 2000 after a gap from the calendar of nine years.

The Motor Speedway is located 8km north west of Indianapolis and was built in the early 20th century as a test track for the motor industry in Detroit. The circuit was paved with bricks when it became a race track shortly after. Then in the forties the track was asphalted, except a yard of bricks at the start-finish line, giving rise to the 'Brickyard' nickname.

Team McLaren Mercedes took victory in 2001 with Mika Hakkinen, the last win the Finnish double World Champion secured for the team before his retirement from Formula 1.

The McLaren name has a successful history in America, beginning in 1959 when founder Bruce won the inaugural United States Grand Prix at the Sebring, four years before he formed the McLaren team. Since the team's United States Formula 1 debut in 1966, McLaren has been the most successful Formula 1 Constructor, with nine race victories.

The McLaren marque has also seen success in other American motorsport events. In the late 60s, McLaren dominated the CAN-AM championship, winning the title on TBC occasions. In addition the team has won the illustrious Indianapolis 500 three time, in 1972 with Mark Donohue and Johnny Rutherford taking victory twice, in 1974 and 1976.

Kimi Raikkonen:

"At Montreal, we were able to show the step forward we have made with the MP4-21 and hopefully this week in America we will be able to challenge for the top step of the podium. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a great venue, and it is one of those everyone wants to say they have won at. The fans are also great, they are real petrol heads and I hope we can put on a good race for them this year."

"The track is all about compromise and is tough on all elements of the car. It is another fast track, like the past two of Silverstone and Montreal. Set-up wise the United States Grand Prix is more similar to Montreal as you have the long straight and slow corners, but you do have to allow for the slower infield section also."

"You can really challenge for position here, for sure the best opportunity is slipstreaming along the straight section of the oval and pass under braking at the right hander that takes you back into the infield. It also helps that the track is so wide here."

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"After my race in Canada, I cannot wait to get straight back on track this weekend, as the car felt really quick. It is even better for me that we are at Indy this race and competing for the fans, who are amazing and I personally have awesome support from Colombia, so I am looking forward to getting out there and putting on a fantastic show for them."

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has such great memories for me from my days in CART and of course winning the Indy 500 in 2000, it is such a special venue, full of history and legend. The nature of the track, with the immense straight along the oval and the tight infield sees us use a medium to low downforce configuration to allow for the contrast in track style.

"The 1.7km section of the banked oval we use is the longest stretch we have at full throttle all season, it is pretty good fun as by the time you get to the end of the straight you really feel like you are going super fast because of the length of time!"

Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:

"It was clear in Montreal that we are reducing the gap to the Renault as we continue to develop the pace of the MP4-21. We still have work to do, however we demonstrated we can challenge for victories and that is what we intend to do this weekend. Everyone at Team McLaren Mercedes is looking forward to returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week."

"It is a great track and vital for Formula 1 to race at, not only because we need tracks that create exciting racing, bit it also allows us to call the sport a true world championship. Formula 1 knows we have to put on a great race this weekend and Team McLaren Mercedes are looking to be a strong part of that."

Norbert Haug, Vice Predsident, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport:

"Since 2000 Indianapolis has been on the Formula One calendar, so in 2006 the race will take place for the seventh time. As everybody is aware of, the sixth event did not go according to the plans of Formula One and it wants to show the spectators a first-class race this year and our team is keen on contributing their part."

"The track layout is challenging and the sector with 22 seconds of consecutive full throttle is extremely demanding for the engines. The task for the infield is exactly the opposite and to be fast you need a good compromise between top speed and good balance in corners."

"The race in Indianapolis is one of the most important ones on the calendar and is in the biggest market for Mercedes-Benz outside Germany. There we want to continue our positive trend of the last races."


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