Spanish GP: Preview - McLaren


Lewis Hamilton: "The schedule for the first four races was very tough for everyone, so going back to Europe almost feels like a fresh start. After such a positive performance in Bahrain, we're fully aware that the characteristics of the Barcelona track won't suit our car so well. In addition, we won't have the bigger upgrades of some of the other teams as we already introduced several new parts during the opening flyaways, so it will be interesting to see where we sit in the order. Nevertheless, the engineers are optimistic that our new diffuser and front wing will once again help us to make progress towards the front of the grid."

Heikki Kovalainen: "Going back to the scene of last year's accident doesn't change anything for me: I really enjoy this track - I had a great race to fifth here in 2007 and I love the high-speed corners, where you've got to push hard to get the maximum from the car. It's also a circuit where you need to find the perfect balance to look after the tyres - and I really enjoy trying to find the best compromise for the race. Our pre-season test at Barcelona was not very encouraging, so we are going into this race with realistic expectations, but I'm optimistic the whole team can deliver once again this weekend."

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: "Our decision to introduce performance updates at each race rather than concentrate all our developments into a single upgrade package has helped us score some reasonable points in the opening flyaway races. With our rivals expected to introduce some more substantial improvements in Barcelona this weekend, we once again expect a fight to score points. And while the high-downforce nature of the Circuit de Catalunya may show up some of MP4-24's shortcomings, everyone within the team remains confident and motivated that we can sustain the momentum we have gathered to push and close the gap to the front this weekend."

Norbert Haug, Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: "The first four flyaway races within only five weeks have been turbulent and downright demanding for everyone in Formula 1, and particularly for us. The field has moved closer together than ever before in Formula 1 history. Unfortunately, we are still not competing in the right position and the beginning of the European Formula 1 season in Barcelona will be a true test for the future balance of power. I expect an extremely difficult race. We are in the middle of an intensive process of catching up and, in comparison to our competitiveness in the previous two seasons, we are still far from where we need to be. Our team is working extremely hard to achieve more significant improvements in aerodynamics and particularly in downforce, but to do so we still need more time."

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Published: 30/04/2009
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