Austrian GP: Preview - McLaren


Fernando Alonso: "After a disappointing result, the best thing you can do is move on, so it's good that we have another race this weekend. And the weekend after. I like this track - it's a good mix of the new and the old. The big hills, the gradient and the compact nature of the paddock all remind you that this was once one of F1's grand old venues; but the modern facilities are also a fantastic addition.

"The lap itself is great: it's a place you have to constantly attack in order to get a good lap-time, and, while there are only really five corners, they're always ready to bite if you over-commit.

"I think we go to Austria looking to deepen our understanding of the car. We're making progress, and we will get there."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "I really enjoy this track. I think Turn Three is a good corner for racing - you can out-brake another car here; and the addition of a third DRS zone along the straight between Turns One and Two should add a new element to the race. Hopefully, it will add to the spectacle.

"I also really enjoy the last corner. You come into before you've really finished with the previous corner, and the car is loaded and you're already committed. It's a place where you always think you can bite off more than you can chew - and sometimes you can, sometimes you can't! I think that's a good lesson for other circuits to take onboard.

"It's a great track and a great weekend. For McLaren, we'll be looking for more steady progress and an improvement over some of our recent races."

Eric Boullier: "This is the second race of F1's summer triple-header, and like Paul Ricard and Silverstone, one of the most fan-focused events on the calendar. For that reason, it's always an enjoyable weekend, and one that's good for the sport.

"The track is compact and relatively straightforward, but also a real driver's circuit - you're looking to extract the tiniest margins from car and driver around such a short, quick lap. And that's not always easy, as a few of the corners sometimes look more inviting than they really are...

"After a couple of difficult races, we'll be looking for a smooth and reliable weekend on both sides of the garage. Fernando's recent retirements have been frustrating, so it would be good to see him get to the finish this weekend."

Toughest corner: Turn Nine, (Rindt Curve). This is the fastest corner on the lap, taken in sixth gear at 240km/h (150mph). The cars approach it over a crest and the track drops downhill at the apex, so it's easy to understeer wide at the exit.

Most demanding section: Turns Six and Seven are the corners most enjoyed by the drivers. They are fast -- fifth gear, minimum apex speed 185km/h (115mph) - and the track drops sharply downhill through Turn Six, giving the drivers a spectacular roller-coaster ride.

Biggest challenge: Lap length. There are only 10 corners and at roughly 65s, this is the shortest lap of the year in terms of time. That means mistakes are punished hard in qualifying because the smallest error can mean a loss of several grid positions.

Engineer's lowdown

Braking: Medium. There are three significant braking areas on the lap, all of them occurring in the first half of the circuit. The average deceleration per corner is 4.2g and the drivers can expect to use the brakes for a total of 11 minutes during the grand prix.

Power: The cars use 1.7kg of fuel per lap, which is average.

Aero: Medium downforce. Top speeds are crucial, but so is slow-speed traction, which is why the teams opt for medium downforce levels. Also, the track is situated at 700m, making this the first high-altitude challenge of the season, which has ramifications for aerodynamics and the power unit.

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Published: 26/06/2018
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