McLaren Preview Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2011

November 5, 2011

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2011 ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX PREVIEW

 

Lewis Hamilton

“I have some fantastic memories of the Yas Marina Circuit. I started from pole position there in 2009, and I led the race until I was forced to stop because of a brake issue. Last year, I finished second and set the fastest lap, so we head there looking to convert all that potential into a race win.

“I think we’ve got every reason to be confident for Abu Dhabi. This circuit should really suit the characteristics of our car – we should be able to capitalise on the layout to maximise the benefit of DRS and KERS, both of which are very strong on our car.

“Red Bull and Sebastian [Vettel] may have clinched both championships, but I’m still determined to end the season on a winning high. I’ve won two grands prix this year, and I’d love to double that by the end of the year! It would also be a great reward for everybody at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.”

Jenson Button

“Abu Dhabi has special memories for me because it was my first race after I’d won the world championship in 2009, so it made racing that weekend a really fun and enjoyable experience – I remember I had a fantastic battle with Mark [Webber] and finished third.

“The Yas Marina circuit looks and feels spectacular and futuristic: it’s a unique place – the way the circuit changes from dusk to darkness is incredible, and must be an amazing experience for the spectators. The way it’s built, the grandstands are almost on top the action so everyone gets a great view.

“It’s usually been quite difficult to overtake here, especially last year, but I think that DRS will change all that. The back straight is one of the longest in Formula 1 so I expect to see a lot of action there. It would be great to see the new rules turn this circuit into a place where overtaking is more common and more exciting.

“Our car should suit this circuit so I’m very optimistic. We saw at the last grand prix that even though we didn’t have the ultimate speed to catch and pass Sebastian, we made him work hard for the win. Tactically, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ran a first-class race: I got all the right calls from the pit wall and the pit crew did a fantastic job. The championship may not be at stake any more but we’re still aiming to win races and put on a tremendous show.”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“The Indian Grand Prix two weeks ago was a unique achievement for Formula 1, and next weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi will be another pinnacle for the sport at probably the most futuristic and impressive circuit on the calendar.

“Jenson was quick and incredibly consistent in India, putting us in a position where we could be a little bit adventurous with the tyre strategy and put the leader under greater pressure. I know Lewis was disappointed with the outcome of his own race but that will not affect his preparations for the next challenge. He has an extremely impressive track record in Abu Dhabi, starting from pole position in 2009 and setting the fastest lap on his way to the podium in 2010, so I’m very confident that he’ll shine this weekend.

“At Vodafone McLaren Mercedes we approach every grand prix with one aim: to win it. So while we can never be entirely happy with finishing second, as we did in India, we can be satisfied that we maximised the technical package we had and look at ways to go one better for the next race.

“Even though we’ve secured second place in the constructors’ championship, and Jenson has a very healthy margin in second place in the drivers’ championship, the season isn’t over for us by any means. We’re continuing to bring new developments to our car and we’ll be fighting every bit as hard as we did at the first race in Australia back in March.”

Red Bull Qualifying Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 29, 2011

Microsoft Word - Indian GP - Qualifying.doc

McLaren Qualifying Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 29, 2011

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2011 INDIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

 

“We’ve got good pace, but it’s going to be a long race”

 

Buddh International Circuit, Saturday October 29

 

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

P3

2nd 1m25.191s (0.367s) 15 laps

Qualifying

Q1 3rd                           1m26.225s (on Options)

Q2 5th                           1m25.299s (on Options)

Q3 5th overall*              1m24.950s (on Options)

* will start fourth

“The car felt great this morning but I couldn’t find any grip this afternoon, particularly on the Prime tyre. So we need to work out why we can’t find that balance because I want to try to improve things for tomorrow.

“I struggled with traffic all afternoon – it was difficult to find a clear lap, and, when I did, I’d taken too much out of my tyres already. On my final run, I saw Felipe [Massa] heading into the gravel as I came up to him. I definitely would have been quicker on that run, but I got into the yellow flag zone, saw his car, spotted the smoke and backed out of it a little bit. I definitely lost time in the sector – the data showed that I was 14km/h down in fact.

“I hope I can take the car I had yesterday, as opposed to the car I had this afternoon, into the race. It felt stronger on high-fuel during Friday running, so hopefully we can find that again tomorrow.”

 

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

P3

2nd 1m25.288s (+0.464s) 16 laps

Qualifying

Q1 8th                           1m26.563s (on Primes)

Q2 2nd                           1m25.019s (on Options)

Q3 2nd overall*              1m24.474s (on Options)

* will start fifth following three-place grid penalty

 

“To be able to split the Red Bulls on qualifying pace is something that everybody in the team should feel proud about. In fact, I’ve been really happy with my qualifying performance throughout the whole year – it’s been getting more and more consistent. On my last run, I was only a tenth down going into the penultimate corner, but I chose to abort the lap and save the tyres for tomorrow as it’s going to be a long race.

“It’s a little bit unfortunate to have a grid penalty, but that’s life. I think we’ve got good pace, but it’s going to be a long race. Still, with the long, wide straights and two DRS zones, overtaking should be easier here than it is at some of the other circuits, so I’m optimistic about what we can do around here tomorrow.

“I also think it’s cool that you throw up a bit of dust when you go off-line – that’s how racing should be: there should be grass and dirt when you go off the track.

“Finally, I want to say a big thank-you to the organisers. This circuit is smooth, fast and flowing. It’s beautiful, in fact; the facilities are fantastic and the people have been extremely welcoming. This is one of the best circuits in the world and it’s definitely a race people should come to visit.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Lewis drove very well in qualifying this afternoon, his best lap-time eclipsed by only that of Seb [Vettel], but he won’t start tomorrow’s race from the front row owing to the three-grid-position penalty he incurred yesterday morning.

“Jenson’s efforts were frustrated in the last moments of this afternoon’s qualifying session by yellow flags deployed as a result of Felipe’s accident, causing him to lift during what would otherwise have been a pretty quick lap.

“But this circuit is a great racetrack, our drivers are brilliant racers, and I’m sure that both of them will be aiming to score very heavily tomorrow. As a result, I expect the first ever Indian Grand Prix to be a fabulous race.”

Red Bull Preview Indian Grand Prix 2011

October 22, 2011

Red Bull Preview

McLaren Race Report Korean Grand Prix 2011

October 16, 2011

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2011 KOREAN GRAND PRIX

 

“Two brilliant racing drivers – who never give up”

 

Korea International Circuit, Sunday October 16

LEWIS HAMILTON

MP4-26A-03

Started:            1st

Finished:          2nd

Fastest lap:      1m40.459s (+0.689s, 3rd)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 15 and 33 (Op-Op- Pr)

2011 points:     196 (5th)

 

“This was one of my strongest races of the season. There was so much pressure from Mark [Webber] behind and it would have been so easy to make a mistake, lock up or go wide – but I’m really satisfied that I didn’t do so once. I believe that withstanding pressure is the mark of a world champion, and I think I showed that in today’s race.

“Our car started off reasonably well, but the front-end dropped away through the race. By the end, all the switches in the cockpit that could help me were adjusted to the maximum! The differential and front wing were at the maximum possible, and there was still nothing I could do.

“I was driving into corners with almost maximum lock and the car still wasn’t turning – so I couldn’t carry the speed through the corners, and that’s how Mark was able to catch me. It was only after the race that I discovered we had an issue with debris lodged in the front wing, and that’s probably what caused the understeer.

“This was a good, strong result for the team. The guys didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, so we should be proud of today’s result – but, man, it was hard!

“I really hope we can carry our continued momentum through the next three races. It feels good to be back.”

JENSON BUTTON

MP4-26A-01

Started:            3rd

Finished:          4th

Fastest lap:      1m40.709s (+1.104s, 7th)

Pitstops:          Two: laps 13 and 34 (Op-Op-Pr)

2011 points:     222 (2nd)

“I don’t think I could have done much more than fourth today. I struggled to get rid of my understeer throughout the whole race, so fourth was a fair reflection of what the car was capable of today.

“On the first lap, I braked into Turn Three, but Felipe [Massa] went inside me and I got stuck on the outside and ended up losing quite a few places. At the end of the first lap, I was sixth, but I don’t think that poor first lap would have changed my result.

“Throughout the race, I didn’t have any front-end grip. I couldn’t get into the DRS zone either, so it was always tricky to try and close down the car in front when I lacked that straight-line advantage.

“I was passed by Nico [Rosberg] after my first pitstop when he ended up out-braking himself at the pit exit. The exit here is a bit unusual: if you leave the pits behind another car, then you’re probably going to be able to get ahead, because you get the benefit of the DRS into Turn Three. But Nico locked up out of the pits and ran wide, so I passed him, meaning he crossed the DRS line behind me and was able to use it to get past on the straight.

“I was able to nip back past pretty quickly and was able to close down on the battle for second between Lewis and Mark. But, towards the end of each stint, the front-end would drop away: I just couldn’t get close enough in the last sector. I added more front-end at the stops, but I had lots of understeer so I couldn’t get close enough to Mark [Webber] to use DRS. I think I only used DRS once in the entire race.

“Still, if this was a bad day, it wasn’t so bad!”

MARTIN WHITMARSH

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“I think Lewis’ drive today was utterly inspirational. He may be downplaying it, because he’s a perfectionist and he wanted to win, but to withstand such enormous pressure, for lap after lap, from a faster car, was a drive absolutely worthy of the great champions.

“His finishing position may only go down in the history books as another second place, but, make no mistake, this was a fantastic drive; beautifully assured and perfectly judged.

“To cap it all, the data showed that he was losing a significant amount of downforce from his front wing. After the race, we inspected Lewis’s front-wing and discovered that the left-hand slot-gap had become filled with congealed tyre rubber, doubtless a result of the marbles on the track.

“As a result, he was suffering with masses of understeer, which further hurts the tyres. In the circumstances, his was an absolutely fantastic drive because it would have been all too easy to have gone backwards when faced with such massive, and constant, pressure.

“Equally, Jenson posted another brilliant, measured drive. On Jenson’s car, too, we discovered after the race that he was also hurting from damage to his car – caused by a rock hitting the front wing. The resulting understeer doubtless also impaired Jenson’s ability to close down Mark in the track’s final sector, and therefore meant he was unable to mount a sustained attack in the DRS zone and secure third.

“Nevertheless, today showed that we have a very good racing car. But, more importantly, it showed that we have two brilliant racing drivers, who will fight from the start of the race to the end and who will never give up.

“Their spirited drives today are a just reward for the whole Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, who have spent the last fortnight away from their homes, families and friends. While we must all acknowledge the great achievement of Red Bull Racing in securing the constructors’ championship today, I also want to pay tribute to the efforts and sacrifices made by our whole team over these past two weeks. They enabled us to score 65 world championship points in the last two races – a total that now consolidates our position in the constructors’ championship. So, after two fantastic races in Japan and Korea, I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank-you’ to the whole team. There are three races remaining in 2011 – and I know I speak for everyone when I say we want to win all three.”

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.”

Red Bull Preview Japanese Grand prix 2011

October 5, 2011

Red Bull Preview

Webber Signs with Red Bull for 2012

October 4, 2011

Mark Webber

“Red Bull Racing is pleased to announce that Mark Webber’s contract has been extended for another year, meaning the Australian will continue to drive for the team in 2012.”

Mark Webber said: “I want to continue racing at the top in Formula One so it’s a no-brainer to remain at Red Bull Racing for another year. My motivation to achieve the best results possible both for myself and the team is still very high.

“Over the past five years, we have worked hard and proved that we can design and build a competitive and championship-winning car, and I’m looking forward to putting the car and myself on the limit again each and every race weekend in 2012.”

Christian Horner said: “When we sat down and started talking about 2012, it was immediately obvious that Mark and the team wanted to continue our successful relationship. This meant agreeing an extension for 2012 was very straightforward. Mark knows the team well, having been with us since 2007, and his motivation, fitness and commitment is as high as it has ever been.

“The pairing of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel is a very strong one, they push each other hard and we are extremely happy the pairing will remain unchanged for a fourth season.”

McLaren Preview Japanese Grand Prix 2011

September 30, 2011

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JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – PREVIEW

 

Lewis Hamilton

“I love Japan, and the Japanese Grand Prix is one of the highlights of my season.

“This year, of course, we all travel to Japan extremely mindful of the consequences of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country earlier this year. I hope that the Japanese Grand Prix can successfully show the world that the country is strengthening and rebuilding itself after the terrible events of last March.

“As for the race itself, I think Suzuka will play to my strengths: it’s a track that really requires you to drive in an attacking way to be able to get a good laptime. It’s an uncompromising place. But that’s when the thrill of driving a Formula 1 car is at its highest; when you know you can’t afford a single mistake and where driving on the absolute limit is the only way to get the best time. In that sense, it’s a lot like Monaco, and maybe that’s why I like the place so much – it’s unique.

“I think we’re headed there in pretty good shape: we know that the Red Bulls will be strong – but we also have a very quick car, and we can make it work on different kinds of circuit.

“Suzuka is another reasonably high-downforce track, which should play to our strengths. The weather in Japan in the autumn is always unpredictable – we’ve seen before that it can be beautifully sunny and hot or extremely cold and wet.

“I’ll take any conditions as long as I can race hard.”

Jenson Button

“I consider Japan my second home – it’s a place that’s very close to my heart, and, obviously, it’s going to be a very emotional experience for me to be racing in Japan for the first time since the events of last March.

“I’m very proud that the Formula 1 world championship will put Japan on the world’s sporting stage next weekend: while the country is still collectively rebuilding itself, I’m deeply aware that sport can play a significant role in helping to restore hope and normality to communities that were torn apart by the earthquake and tsunami.

“And I think it will be a great race for everyone. In the last few races, I think we’ve shown that we have extremely good pace and that we’ve been the team most able to take the fight to Red Bull. On paper, I think it’s a circuit that will suit the Red Bulls, particularly in the high-speed sweeps that make up the first sector of the track, but I certainly don’t think people should under-estimate our package.

“We showed at Spa that we have a car that’s very effective in high-speed corners. We’ve also improved our straight-line speed and we have a more efficient rear-wing for qualifying, so I think we’re feeling positive about the weekend.

“For everyone who follows Formula 1, I hope we can put on a great race to bring further strength to the people of Japan. And to everyone in Japan, I say: ganbatte!”

Martin Whitmarsh

Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“Taking the long journey to Suzuka always reinforces the notion that we’re headed into the closing stages of the season.

“While there remains a mathematical, albeit slim, chance of Jenson securing the world championship, we realistically go into these last races with an undimmed resolution to win, and to ensure the world championship remains interesting, exciting and unpredictable for as long as possible!

“To that end, we’re still pushing ahead with the development of key areas of the MP4-26 – in particular, we’re focusing on areas where there will be significant carry-over of performance and learning into 2012. With the 26, the key areas of overlap development are the front and rear wings: any downforce we find this year can be carried over to the MP4-27.

“Encouragingly, we were able to successfully track-test our latest iteration of rear wing in Singapore, it proving sufficiently positive during Friday practice that it was deployed on both cars for the remainder of the race weekend. While there will be an inevitable shift of focus and deployment towards the new car, we still have enough momentum within the development system to ensure that we’ll still be introducing new parts through until the last few races of the season.

“Finally, McLaren has plenty of history in Japan – we’ve witnessed some incredible and unpredictable scenes involving our cars and drivers at both Suzuka and Fuji down the years – and, as a team, we’re all particularly proud to be going to Japan this year to play a sporting role in the redevelopment of a country that has endured terrible hardships and deprivation in 2011.

“It goes without saying that we will all be racing with the people of Japan in our hearts and minds next weekend.”

Red Bull German Grand Prix 2011

July 24, 2011

Microsoft Word - German GP - RACE.doc

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