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British GP: Preview - McLaren


Fernando Alonso: "The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the year for every driver. The fans are very knowledgeable and very fair, and the circuit is a fantastic high-speed challenge. It's one of the few places where the drivers feel like they've been let off the leash because you can really feel the aerodynamic grip at Silverstone, which makes it very pleasurable to drive.

"This is also the home race of McLaren. A lot of the factory-based staff come to watch us at the track, which is special and it would be fantastic to get a good result for all of them."

"My victories at Silverstone were very special. Both were exciting races and I'll never forget the reception I received from the crowd when I came onto the podium. It was fantastic and it's that generosity towards all of the drivers, and not only the British ones, that gives the race such a special atmosphere.

"From a performance point of view, it's important that we get through the whole weekend cleanly, efficiently and without problems. We've had a couple of tricky races, but, through it all, there have been some genuine glimpses of progress.

"For me, I want to make progress through Friday and Saturday, then be able to deliver a performance on Sunday that justifies all our efforts. We can do it, and to be able to turn that corner in front of thousands of McLaren-Honda fans would be a fantastic reward for the whole team."

Jenson Button: "I've been going to Silverstone for almost as long as I can remember. I raced there in karts, in Formula Ford, in Formula 3 and, of course, in F1 for the last 16 years. It's a wonderful track and the British fans are something else. They've given me unflinching support during my career, through the good times and the bad, and for that I'm hugely grateful.

"The high-speed corners are great fun, and, whatever your car's level of competitiveness, you can't help but smile as you drive through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts because it's so fast through there. Silverstone is one of my highlights of the year."

"Finishing on the podium at the British Grand Prix is top of my 'to do' list in F1. I've achieved pretty much everything else that I set out to do in F1, but I've never stood on the podium at Silverstone. I really want to do that and it would feel like a victory if I were to achieve it.

"Of course, the result in Austria last week really motivates everybody, and it raises everyone's expectations, too. It would be lovely to be able to claim that a podium this year might finally be possible, but, being realistic, that won't be possible this time.

"But I head to Silverstone feeling hugely encouraged by our progress, and just what we can achieve as a team when the variables are thrown into the air and all the teams are left to somewhat improvise: we can do great things. It goes without saying that I'll be giving it everything at Silverstone this weekend."

Eric Boullier, Racing Director: "Silverstone is a very special race, both for the fans and for the people who work in Formula 1. The circuit has something for everyone: it has history, it has fast corners and it has a unique atmosphere. It's a privilege to go racing there.

"And, of course, the British Grand Prix is the first of McLaren-Honda's two 'home' races, along with Suzuka in Japan. We have many great memories of racing at Silverstone, a place where we've scored many notable victories over the years.

"This year we do battle with a much improved MP4-31. Jenson's result in Austria showed that, when everything comes together, we can perform operationally at a high standard; but, equally, the issues that affected Fernando on both Saturday and Sunday show that we still need to raise our game on every front.

"It's important to remember that we were able to punch above our weight in Austria, but, with so many McLaren-Honda fans in the crowd this weekend, we'll be doing our best to pull another strong result out of the bag."

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer: "The British Grand Prix needs no introduction as it's one of the oldest and most iconic races on the F1 calendar. It's also one of the most challenging races, with a reputation as one of F1's few remaining power circuits. The track is long and flat, and power and fuel hungry, which will no doubt create a fierce midfield battle for us, but I think we've learned from both Baku and Austria that we're definitely progressing forward as a team, and it's up to us to extract the most out of the car throughout the weekend.

"Silverstone will also mark the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren-Honda team this season, so we're looking forward to what will be a busy but special weekend. The British fans are some of the most passionate in the world and they've always shown Honda great support throughout our years in Formula 1.

"It's the fans and their passion that make the British Grand Prix so special, so we hope that we can bring both cars home within the points in front of the home crowd."

First race: 1950

Circuit length: 5.891km/3.660 miles (fourth longest of the season)

Distance to Turn One: 420m/0.261 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)

Longest straight: Hangar Straight, 780m/0.484 miles on the approach to Turn 15

Top speed: 320km/h/199mph, on the approach to Turn 15 (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/225mph)

Pitlane length: 489m/0.304 miles, the longest of the season. Estimated time loss 23s

Full throttle: 66 per cent (highest of season: Monza, 75 per cent)

DRS zones: Two, on the approaches to Turns Six and 15

Key corner: Turn Seven, a double-apex right-hander. A clean exit is vital because a long period of full throttle follows, during which the drivers don't hit the brakes for 40s

Fastest corner: 290km/h (180mph), Turn 10

Slowest corner: 90km/h (56mph), Turn Four

Major changes for 2016: None

Fuel consumption: 2.5kg per lap, which is high

ERS demands: Medium. It's a long lap and there are several significant braking points to help ERS recovery

Brake wear: Medium. While this is a relatively easy circuit on brakes, it's hard to maximise their potential. Getting the carbon discs up to temperature at the end of the Hangar Straight, after 40s of flat-out running, is something of a black art

Gear changes 48 per lap/2,496 per race

Silverstone is one of the oldest and most iconic circuits on the F1 calendar. A former WWII airfield, the track hosted the first world championship grand prix on 13 May 1950 and it's been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987. The track was the scene of F1's first 160mph (257km/h) lap, in 1985, and it remains one of the fastest and most challenging circuits in the world.

What makes it unique: The number of fast corners, many of which are linked. To watch an F1 car through Copse-Maggotts-Becketts is a sight to behold.

Grip levels: Good. The asphalt is old and the cornering speeds are mostly high, a combination that provides good levels of grip.

Run-off: Plentiful. The one thing this former airfield doesn't lack is space. Having said that, Michael Schumacher broke a leg when he crashed at the end of the Hangar Straight in 1999.

Watch out for: Turn Nine, Copse. This is one of the fastest corners in F1: in qualifying it's taken flat-out in top gear, whereas in the race it gets faster as the fuel load burns off.

Start time: 13:00 local/1200 GMT

Race distance: 52 laps (full world championship points will be awarded after 75 percent distance/39 laps)

Safety Car likelihood: Low, due to the large run-off areas. Statistically there's a 55 percent chance of a Safety Car, but it has been deployed for the last two years after crashes on the opening lap of the race

When to press record: Qualifying. Every lap of Silverstone is spectacular, but none more than in qualifying, when the cars are light and the power units are tuned to deliver maximum horsepower. Through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts the drivers pull up to 5g lateral, which is quite literally breathtaking

Don't put the kettle on: From lap 10 onwards, which is when the drivers are expected to make their first pitstops. This is the first time that Pirelli has taken its soft tyre to Silverstone, so the race could be a more interesting strategic battle than in years past

Weather conditions: Race forecast 18 degrees

Tyre choices: Soft/Medium/Hard, a combination that was last seen at the Spanish Grand Prix.


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