McLaren Race Report Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 30, 2011

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2011 INDIAN GRAND PRIX

 

“A very good result – and second place secured in the Constructors’ World Championship”

 

Buddh International Circuit, Sunday October 30

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

Started:            4th

Finished:          2nd

Fastest lap:      1m27.967s (+0.718s, 4th)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 18 and 46 (Op-Op-Pr)

2011 points:     240 (2nd)

“In terms of team effort, we did everything right today – our car just wasn’t quite quick enough to actually win.

“I got a good start, made up places on the first lap and then settled down to keep Mark [Webber] behind me for five or six laps. Eventually, I think we ‘broke’ his rear tyres, which enabled me to establish a gap. Then I could set about Seb [Vettel] – but it was very difficult to close him down.

“At the final stop, it was a risk going to the harder tyre earlier than Seb, but we had to give it a go and it worked pretty well as I was able to close him down by a further three seconds. My car felt really good: before Seb could find his rhythm on the Prime, I was able to get the gap down to 2.8 seconds, but it wasn’t quite enough.

“Still, this was a very good result for us – and I think we delivered the maximum possible. I loved the whole experience this weekend. And I think every driver will be excited about coming back here because it’s such a phenomenal circuit; fast and flowing with a bit of everything. It gets a big tick from me.

“The Indian people have really welcomed us to their country; I’ve never seen so many people smiling before. And the crowd has been wonderful. I hope that Formula 1 grows in India in the future and that we get an even bigger crowd here next year.”

 

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            5th

Finished:          7th

Fastest lap:      1m28.721s (+1.472s, 9th)

Pitstops:          Three: laps 16, 24 and 45 (Op-Op-Op & front wing- Pr)

2011 points:     202 (5th)

 

“The contact with Felipe [Massa] was just one of those things. I really didn’t feel like I was at fault – it was a racing incident.

“On the grid, just before the one minute’s silence, he and I were standing next to each other and I put my arm around him and told him: ‘Have a great race today.’ I’ve still got great respect for him.

“During the race, it felt like there was a vibration in the car through the right-handers: it felt like the floor was scraping on the ground, in fact. I was pushing as hard as I could, but couldn’t find the performance, so we’ll have to look into that.

“It’s been an eventful year, but there are more races ahead and I’ll try to score as many world championship points as possible in both of them. Jenson did a great job today, so clearly we were quick enough. I just need to try to pick up on that for the next race.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Jenson made a great start and then drove a brilliant first few corners, working his way from fourth on the grid to second by the end of the first lap.

“He followed that with a truly excellent race-long performance, managing tyre wear where necessary yet still managing to keep up impressive race pace throughout. He didn’t ever have quite enough race pace to mount a concerted attack on Seb, but he got the maximum out of his car and beat everyone else fair and square.

“Lewis had a frustrating afternoon, but recovered well from his coming-together with Felipe to score a very useful half-dozen world championship points. We don’t yet know whether contact with the Ferrari caused damage to Lewis’s car – other than to the nosecone, obviously, which we changed in the pits – but, as I say, as a result of the 24 world championship points that he and Jenson notched up today, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has now secured second place in the 2011 Constructors’ World Championship. It’s always our aim to go one better than that – to win – and second isn’t good enough – but we’re pleased to have consolidated that position nonetheless.

“Last but far from least, I want to say that I thought the 2011 Indian Grand Prix was a fantastic success: a glittering spectacle and a marvellous addition to the international sporting calendar. Next, we go to Abu Dhabi, and then to Brazil, and we at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will be doing our utmost to win both those grands prix.”

Fernando Alonso Previews Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 27, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

“Fernando Alonso met the press this afternoon in the Ferrari hospitality unit in the massive paddock at the Buddh circuit. The location is new, but the first question was much the same as ever, about Scuderia Ferrari’s prospects for the rest of the season.

“We just need to be honest with ourselves and do the best we can in the remaining races and work a lot better and more than we did this year if we want to improve for next year which is already our target,” began the Spaniard.

“With both championships decided, all teams are now thinking of 2012, not just us. So we will tackle the remaining races in this spirit, trying to enjoy them, by doing things you maybe cannot do if you are fighting for a championship. We can be very aggressive and take more risks in qualifying for example.”
“Having only seen this track in virtual form on the simulator, the Ferrari man was keen to get to grips with it for real. “I am very excited to be here, a new circuit is a new challenge from a driver’s point of view,” said Fernando.

“This circuit looks very interesting, especially the last sector, which is very different and quick, allowing for good flowing speed to be used. Normally, with a new track, we find the real thing is better than the simulator.

“I hope we get a good first impression in tomorrow’s practice. It is also my first time in India and it is always nice to discover a new country and to see Formula 1 in a new culture for a new audience. Hopefully, we can put on a good show for them on Sunday.”
“The deaths of Dan Wheldon in an Indy Car race and Marco Simoncelli in MotoGP, within the space of one week have highlighted the dangers of motor sport. “It doesn’t affect you obviously when you are driving,” said Fernando when asked if these incidents make him more aware of the danger of the sport.

“The effect was during the week. Those were very sad days for motorsport. I watched Dan’s accident on a television replay and I was shocked for two or three days after that. Then with Marco, I saw that race live and I could not believe that these things still happen.

“When you close the visor, you don’t think about the risk. We love racing and we know it is dangerous, but the adrenalin it gives you blinds you to the risks. 320 km/h is approximately the maximum at this track and if something happens to your car there is a risk that you can have a big accident. But you don’t think about it when you are driving.”

Felipe Massa Previews Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 27, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

“ Felipe Massa was one of the drivers called to the first ever FIA press conference at the Buddh circuit today, which hosts the inaugural Indian Grand Prix on Sunday. Asked for an impression of the track, the Ferrari driver was complimentary:

“It looks very nice, very interesting with some good opportunities for overtaking.” At this point, Felipe’s fellow countryman, Rubens Barrichello interrupted to explain the two of them had tackled the circuit on a computer game, racing one another sometimes playing for hours at a time over the internet. “It’s him my wife is angry with, not me” joked Rubens pointing at Felipe. “He is the one who introduced me to the game!”
“Then it was time for more serious matters, specifically the performance of the 150º Italia. “Recently, it has been okay,” said Felipe. “However, for the past four races, we have not had so many updates, as we approach the end of the season, which means our performance very much depends on the characteristics of the tracks we are at and Japan and Korea seemed to suit the car quite well.

“It is hard to tell, because sometimes this season we have done well at tracks where we did not expect to and not performed well at circuits where we expected to be competitive.”

“Asked what were the Scuderia’s goals for the final three races, the Brazilian explained they were twofold. “We will tackle these last races trying to get a podium finish and who knows, if possible maybe fight for the victory, which is always our target, always the direction we are working in. At the same time, we are also already working very hard for next year.

“Development of the car is ongoing as we put together all our ideas, trying to keep all the good points from this year’s car and changing those areas that did not work so well.”

Ferrari Drivers’ Report Japanese Grand Prix 2011

October 11, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

Fernando Alonso: “Congratulations to Sebastian! Winning two world titles at his age, in a season in which he has done it all – in qualifying, the races and every other way, so perfectly, is amazing and it is well deserved.

“For our part, we can do no more than try and do our utmost to try and beat him next year. Today, we did our best and we came close to winning the race. We know that in qualifying we are behind the Red Bulls and McLarens, but in the race, when there are variables like tyre degradation, then we can exploit some opportunities. Here, the others were very strong for the first five or six laps and then we closed up to them a lot.

“This podium is a great motivation for the final four races of the season. It was a fun race, in which the strategy was very important. Unlike recent races, today we had a pace that was good enough to fight for the win. We will try again in Korea, where we can go with our heads held high: we will try and win, or at least get on the podium again.”

Felipe Massa: “Once again I finish a race with a very bitter taste in my mouth. Today, our pace was good enough to finish on the podium, as Fernando demonstrated, but instead I am here commenting on a seventh place. It’s a real shame.

“The contact with Hamilton? My car was definitely damaged by it: when I looked at it after the race, I saw there was a bit of the front wing endplate missing and the floor was not on properly on the left hand side and I could feel it in the way my car was behaving. I think the footage speaks for itself: he was struggling with his tyres and I had almost come alongside him and for no reason, he moved over and hit me. I let you be the judge… It’s pointless for me to say any more about it.

“However, I do want to congratulate Sebastian Vettel: he is a great guy and deserves this title and I am very happy for him.”

Ferrari Managements’ Report Japanese Grand Prix 2011

October 11, 2011

Microsoft Word - CARTA_INTESTATA_F1_2011.doc

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all on behalf of the Scuderia, I wish to congratulate Sebastian Vettel on clinching his second Drivers’ title: he has had an incredible season and this fantastic result is well deserved!

“As for us, I don’t think it’s out of place if, for the second time running, I use the adjective amazing, this time to describe Fernando Alonso’s race today. Our driver was always on the attack and came very close to a win which would have been incredible, given our performance two weeks ago in Singapore. All these changes of fortune in terms of who is competitive, confirm once again how hard it is to understand as well as possible the real performance of the car-tyre packages at each track.

“Felipe was also having a very good race, at least until the contact with Hamilton: the damage his car suffered in this incident probably penalised him excessively in the second part of the race.

“There are still four races to go this season, in which we will do our utmost to achieve the objectives that are still within our reach: winning again, taking Fernando to second in the Drivers’ classification and learning as much as possible from this car with a view to 2012.”

Pat Fry: “A great result today at Suzuka, especially in terms of how competitive we were on track. Fernando came very close to winning, getting the very most out of the equipment at his disposal, trying to attack at every conceivable opportunity.

“Felipe also drove a good race, but first he might have paid the price for a pit stop that was delayed by a few laps and then there was the contact with Hamilton: in the end he found himself in traffic and we have often seen this year how hard it is to pass a Mercedes, even if we have a better pace.

“We had a three stop strategy, aware that it would not be an easy one to manage given the rather high level of tyre degradation. The Safety Car period gave everyone a hand and, for once, even the traffic helped us a bit, at least with Fernando. We were not able to make the most of our pace in the final part of each stint with the Soft tyres, because in any case it always costs you a bit pitting early, at least until the point at which you don’t lengthen the final stint of the race too much.

“Here too, the performance on the Mediums was not that bad, also because we suffered a lot less from our traditional problem of getting the harder compound up to temperature. Now we will try to do the same again next weekend in Korea: it would be nice to get another win before the end of the season, but we know it will be difficult!”

Alonso 2nd 1:30.54.587 +1.160

Massa 7th 1:31.21.667 +28.240

Weather: air 26 °C, track 38/35 °C. Chassis: Alonso 291, Massa 290

Massa Told to “Destroy” Hamilton’s Race

October 4, 2011

Felipe Massa

A radio broadcast to Felipe Massa from Rob Smedley, his race engineer, during the Singapore Grand Prix, has just been released where Rob Smedley tells his driver “Hold Hamilton as much as we can. Destroy his race as much as we can. Come on, boy…,”.

Ferrari have since said that the comments were “not politically correct” but had nothing to do with the subsequent collision which resulted in Hamilton pitting for a new nose and Massa pitting to change a punctured tyre.

“Words, words, words…Reading some of the English daily papers, it seems the Horse Whisperer is not alone in having his thoughts turn to William Shakespeare when he stumbled across the polemical mountain made out of the molehill that was the phrase delivered by Rob Smedley during the Singapore Grand Prix,”.

“It’s true that Felipe Massa’s race engineer was caught up in the heat of the moment and chose to use the verb “destroy” at some point.

“It might not have been the most politically correct choice of word, but it definitely carried no malicious intent, especially when you take into account that Rob is a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred!

“It is also true that this exhortation to Felipe came at the exit to Turn 5 on lap 11 of the race, at the end of which both the Ferrari man and Hamilton were due to come in to the pits together. In other words, it had nothing to do with the collision between Felipe and Lewis that happened on the following lap.

“It would not have taken much to avoid this misunderstanding, but that’s what happens in the frenetic world of Formula 1. When all is said done, as the Bard of Avon himself might have put it, it was all much ado about nothing.”

Red Bull German Grand Prix 2011

July 24, 2011

Microsoft Word - German GP - RACE.doc

McLaren Qualifying German Grand Prix 2011

July 24, 2011

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2011 SANTANDER GERMAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

 

“I’M ON A HIGH: THAT LAP WAS A REAL BOOST”

 

Nürburgring, Saturday July 23

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

 

P3

4th 1m31.578s (+0.662s) 13 laps

Qualifying

Q1 8th                           1m32.934s (on Primes)

Q2 1st                               1m30.998s (on Options)

Q3 2nd overall                1m30.134s (on Options)

“First of all I want to say a huge congratulations to the whole team, who did a great job today. Everyone back at the factory and here at the circuit has been working massively hard, and that’s the reason why the car was so quick today. I think we all underestimated how good the car would be, in fact.

“To split the Red Bulls and be ahead of the Ferraris is a fantastic effort by the team. We’ve got a big job ahead of us tomorrow, of course, but today I’m on a high: that lap was a real boost.

“I reckon today’s qualifying session was one of my best ever, definitely my best this season. The car felt great, we had really good balance and I think it’s one of the best laps I’ve done in the car. You’re already on the limit in your first lap of Q3, and usually if you improve in the second run it’s by a tenth; but today it was by four-tenths. I don’t really know where I found the time, and to be honest I’m going to get a recording of the onboard footage and watch it back because I’d love to see it!”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-04

 

P3

5th 1m31.623s (+0.707s) 14 laps

Qualifying

Q1 13th                          1m33.224s (on Primes)

Q2 6th                               1m31.532s (on Options)

Q3 7th overall                 1m31.288s (on Options)

“My car felt pretty good this morning, but this afternoon during quali I couldn’t find enough grip out there on either the Prime or the Option tyre. We’ll look into it this evening to better understand what happened.

“However, Lewis drove a brilliant lap to be second on the grid – so congratulations to him. Actually, his pace is encouraging for me too, because it shows there’s more speed in the car if only we can find it. Also, yesterday showed that our long-run pace is pretty good, so that’s encouraging too.

“So, when you consider that I’ve had a rather troubled couple of days, I suppose P7 is a reasonable platform from which to try to score as many world championship points as possible during the race tomorrow.

“As always, here at the Nürburgring, there’s a possibility of rain – and I’ve had success in changeable weather conditions this year. But, come rain or shine, I’ll be approaching the race really positively.”


MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

 

“Lewis drove an absolutely stunning lap at the Nürburgring today, and will start tomorrow’s race from the front row as a result.

“Moreover, our long-run pace was strong in yesterday’s practice sessions, so I’d say we’re now in a good position from which to mount a challenge for victory on Sunday.

“Jenson had some reliability niggles yesterday, but was much happier this morning in P3. In qualifying this afternoon, however, he struggled for grip, but still qualified seventh. This evening we’ll analyse what happened to him, the better to optimise his race strategy for tomorrow.

“Undoubtedly, he’d prefer to have qualified farther up the grid, but we know how combative and canny a racer he can be, and he’s therefore well capable of scoring a lot of world championship points tomorrow too.

“We’ve worked extremely hard on the car in the two weeks since the British Grand Prix, and the new aero parts we brought here appear to have delivered what we’d hoped they’d deliver. So I want to say a big ‘well done’ to all concerned.

“As ever, also, Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines have done and are doing a fantastic job for us, and we’d dearly love to be able to reward their sterling efforts with victory in their home Grand Prix.”

Ferrari Pleased with British Grand Prix Win

July 20, 2011

Fernando Alonso Ferrari 150 Monaco

Ferrari are relieved at winning their first Grand prix this season at Silverstone as their Team Principal, Stefano Domenicali commented: “For the first three months of the season I would give a negative score to Ferrari for its performance but I would say the last part of the first half of the year was better because, although we only took one win, we were competitive enough to have won more, but for various circumstances, so I would score it slightly higher, maybe a bit more than the average, in the hope that the second half of the season will be higher still.

“We don’t have to look at the classification, but instead make sure that our performance is always at the highest standard race by race. We know of course that this is difficult because the competition is extremely strong. Then, we will see later on what will be the outcome of the championship but at the moment we will just fight race by race.

“That victory in Silverstone was an important moment in this season, made more so as it was also linked to our first victory sixty years ago with Gonzalez on the same track.

“We know that Ferrari cannot be happy with winning just one race so far this season, but it was important for the morale of everyone in the company to make sure that everyone feels the pleasant atmosphere that comes with being successful.

“I never considered a season without a win. Don’t forget that in the last eighteen years, Ferrari has always won at least one grand prix per year. Eighteen years is a lot and I don’t think that other teams can claim this sort of result.”

Formula 1 Needs More Manufacturers

July 16, 2011

Martin Whitmarsh

Martin Whitmarsh would be happy to see more car manufacturers entering Formula 1 in the near future. “The sport has to be sustainable, as Ferrari and ourselves can’t just race each other – we need all these other teams so sustainability is an important issue.

“We had the tobacco era, then the automotive era, who were natural investors, and now we don’t have enough of them. We have Renault half in, we’ve got Mercedes and Ferrari, but actually we need to create an environment of governance, of regulations, of stability and entertainment which convinces the Hondas, Toyotas and BMWs that it was wrong to pull out and I believe that in time we will get them back and probably can add the Volkswagen/Audis, the Hyundais, whatever.

“We need to create an environment that pulls them in. We need to make sure that we maintain the show. In previous years the complaint was always that the show was no good, but I believe that in the last two years we’ve responded responsibly, and actually we have had some incredible races.

“I think now we have a great show – and that’s good so we can tick the box there. We have to make sure that we are relevant and maybe the new V6 engines do that. I am sure that in the next five years we’ll have one or two more come back in. If these automotive companies go for complete team ownership, then inherently that’s unstable because when they go that leaves a mess.

“We had that with Honda, Toyota and BMW, who came in for ownership and it has been difficult for the sport to manage that. If they come in as technical partners and then decide to quit that’s an easier situation to manage. So I think the ideal model is that we create a situation where we are attractive, we’re relevant and we are powerful and appropriate for automotive manufacturers to be involved in, because the natural affinity is automotive.

“We have to work together as there is a real threat to our business model, which is this whole new world of how people use entertainment and we have to be responsive to that and not to wait until our ‘mark’ is dying. We have to go out there and make it ours.

“I don’t know personally how you are going to do that, but that’s the challenge.”

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