F1 Barcelona 2011: Preview (VMM)
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Woking, United Kingdom, May 14, 2011
It’s only been a few days since the chequered flag dropped at Istanbul Park, but everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is firmly looking ahead to the next grand prix at Spain’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Lewis Hamilton is curious to find out how the Drag Reduction System will influence the racing at the circuit. He said: “Barcelona has traditionally been the start of Formula 1’s European season, and we’re optimistic that we’ll once again be back in the fight for the big points this weekend.
“I think we didn’t meet our full potential in Turkey last week, and I’m hoping that the MP4-26 will be able to make a step forward if our initial testing on Friday goes successfully.
“It will be interesting to see how the DRS affects the racing. Typically, it’s been very tough to overtake at Barcelona because the best opportunity – into the first corner – is too fast to make a pass stick. It’s always been too hard to really get alongside another driver into the corner.
“But we benefited from two great races in China and Turkey because the DRS area led directly into a heavy braking zone, meaning it was possible to get two bites of the cherry: using the slipstream and using the braking zone. In Barcelona, it’s likely to be less clear-cut.”
Jenson Button thinks lessons learned from the last grand prix, combined with the planned upgrade package, will serve the team well in Spain. He said: “After a relatively low-key race for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in Turkey, I think we’re headed to Spain and Monaco feeling more positive about getting the most from our planned upgrades.
“Turkey showed us that we are still on a learning curve with these Pirelli tyres, and while in Turkey it was a hard lesson to lose position due to strategy, I think it’s given us a lot of valuable lessons in how to work as a team, how to devise our strategy and how to get the most from the tyres out on the track.
“I think Barcelona will be interesting. Personally, it will feel strange to go back to a track where we had a difficult winter and to drive a car that will hopefully allow us to once again race at the front.
“As always, the Circuit de Catalunya is a very unforgiving track – it’s a track that brings out the best in cars. It’s important to get another strong result under our belts, particularly as we head straight to Monte-Carlo, so maintaining momentum will be vital.”
Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh is looking forward to the race, which has firmly established itself on the Formula 1 calendar over the past 20 years. He said: “The Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya has become a staple on the calendar and is a fantastic sporting festival for the many thousands of passionate fans who flock to the track throughout the weekend.
“I’m particularly interested to see how the 2010 rule-changes affect Sunday’s grand prix. We’ve seen how DRS and KERS Hybrid have influenced the racing so far this season, so we’ll see how things progress at Barcelona given that the Spanish Grand Prix has previously shown limited opportunities for overtaking.
“As we saw in Istanbul last week, there is always risk inherent in bringing any upgrade to the circuit – particularly following the absence of testing. For Barcelona, we’re planning to re-introduce some of the proposed upgrades initially scheduled for introduction in Istanbul. Once again, however, they’ll only be introduced if their initial deployment on Friday proves successful.”
* Official details courtesy of VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES *
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