Germany preview quotes - Ferrari, Red Bull, Virgin, Force India & more 22 Jul 2010
The forthcoming German Grand Prix, round 11 of the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship, will take place at Hockenheim, which last featured on the calendar in 2008. The track is 4.574 kilometres long, features 17 corners and is a complex mix of long straights and slow corners. For the teams and drivers it is a firm favourite. Here they discuss their prospects for the weekend ahead...
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2008 Qualifying - 5th, 2008 Race - 11th
Were about to begin a very important period for our season: in the next two races, in Germany and Hungary, it will be crucial to pick up a lot of points to stay in the race for the title. Theres no point in looking back and crying about it. We know that we will have to get everything right. Then we will bring home the results that we want, I have no doubt about that. Last week I spent several days at Maranello. It was important to be close to the team in such a unique moment and we were also able to prepare for these two race weekends down to the smallest detail. Returning to the championship, I want to stress that my continued confidence isnt unfounded but its based on fact. Our car has noticeably improved in recent weeks, as we showed at Silverstone, a track that should have theoretically been hard for us. This years points system increases the value of the gaps but, at the same time, it allows you to make important gains: its clear that you have to get results. I assure you that Ive sensed a great determination among the people who work at Maranello. We all want the same thing, which is to return to winning ways as soon as possible. At Hockenheim we will have more new parts on the F10, in particular a new version of the diffuser. In Friday free practice well see if it brings the effects we hope for. But Im very confident, given that all the new parts weve introduced recently have worked as expected. The German track is one of the shortest in the calendar, which means that the gaps in qualifying will be smaller than elsewhere. So we will have to avoid even the slightest error on Saturday because two tenths more or less can be worth two rows on the starting grid.
Felipe Massa, Ferrari
2008 Qualifying - 2nd, 2008 Race - 3rd
It might seem an unusual thing for a race driver to wish for, but my greatest hope is that I can have a normal race. If I think back to everything that happened to me at the last three races, sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I have had so much bad luck. In Montreal and Silverstone I was involved in collisions on the opening lap and in Valencia, the safety car came at just the wrong time for me and ruined my race. In all three of those races, our Friday and Saturday performance had proved we had a competitive car, but I never managed to translate that potential into points on the Sunday. So, my main aim is to have a trouble-free weekend from start to finish. Of course I wouldnt be a racing driver if I did not have thoughts of winning the race, even if we know that at the moment, Ferrari is up against some very strong opposition, but really if there are no unusual incidents on Sunday and we can race to our full potential then I will be satisfied. If we manage to do that then I am sure a good result is waiting for us. I have always enjoyed driving at this circuit and this year we will have the novelty of using slick tyres here for the first time, as last years race was held at the Nurburgring. The last time we came here in 2008 I finished third and in 2006 I was second behind Michael (Schumacher). In fact I have always finished in the points here since I have been driving for Ferrari. In a way, I regret that I never got the chance to drive on the famous old Hockenheim layout, with its long straights through the forests, so this new version is the only one I know. I think the track characteristics should suit our car quite well and I hope we will be competitive there. We are pressing forward with the car development, even if it seemed much improved in the last few races and here we will have a new diffuser, which we will evaluate during Fridays free practice. I am sure other teams will also be moving forward on the technical front, but we must just concentrate on our own job and not concern ourselves with that.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2008 Qualifying - 8th, 2008 Race - DNF
"I have good memories of racing in Germany. I spent a lot of time there when I was driving Mercedes sports cars in the late 90s and, of course, I won my first Grand Prix at the Nurburgring last year. Were at Hockenheim this year for the first time since 2008 and I expect lap times to be much faster than they were then. The cars have improved a lot, so cornering speeds are going to be much higher, but the new Hockenheim isnt a patch on the old circuit. I never raced on the old track in F1, but I did plenty of miles on it in other formulas. I won a sports car race there with Mercedes and Ill never forget a test session we did at the track in preparation for Le Mans. We took out the chicanes to replicate the straights at La Sarthe and we ran flat-out, at 220mph, for two thirds of the lap. Looking ahead to this weekend, I hope our RB6 will be competitive. Its been quick at every track this year and I see no reason why we cant fight for victory on Sunday. To challenge at the front well need to get everything right from first practice onwards because there will be stiff competition, particularly from McLaren and Ferrari. A lot could depend on the tyres because Bridgestone are bringing their hardest and softest compounds to the race. Tyre wear with the super-soft could be critical, particularly if the expected rain cleans the track before the race, but I dont expect the situation to be as hideous as Canada, where the tyres were dropping off after only a few laps.
Timo Glock, Virgin
2008 Qualifying - 11th, 2008 Race - DNF
As always, Im really looking forward to my home Grand Prix at Hockenheim, which is around 30 minutes from my front door, so it really is a home race for me. It is especially good that this race comes just two weeks after the teams home debut at Silverstone, so this will be the second race in a row where we will have experienced a lot of support from the fans and this always helps to boost everyone just that little bit more. I raced here a lot in the junior formulae when I was starting out in my career and it has a lot of very special memories for me. With so many German drivers competing in F1 this year - six in total - the feeling we will get from the crowd will be incredible Im sure. It goes without saying that I aim to achieve the best result possible and with the progress we have made in terms of the mechanical and aero upgrades to the car over the last two races I am feeling optimistic.
Lucas di Grassi, Virgin
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
Our teams home Grand Prix two weeks ago was shaping up to be a very positive weekend for us, so its disappointing that we encountered the hydraulic problem which ended my race early on. As always though you have to look at the positive and up until that point we had every reason to feel optimistic about the step forward we have made with the car, which is significant. Obviously there is a lot more to come and we have to keep pushing, but to know we are heading in the right direction has given us all a lift for the second half of the season. I really like the Hockenheimring and have raced here many times before in other categories. Its a circuit that requires good braking stability and traction and is quite challenging. I am pretty confident in our car and expect us to be able to prove ourselves as the best of the new teams here again like I did in Valencia.
John Booth, Virgin team principal
Its hard to believe it but this weekend marks the start of part two of our debut season. However, it is reassuring to be entering into that phase with the knowledge that we have a stronger car, which we intend to keep improving all the way to the end of the season. The next two races, being back to back, present a logistical challenge in terms of moving our trackside infrastructure from Germany to Hungary in the space of three days, but its a process we are now pretty well-rehearsed at. The next race is an important one for Timo and we look forward to seeing him enjoy the much-deserved support of his many fans and supporting him by doing everything possible to ensure we have the best weekend possible.
Nick Wirth, Virgin technical director
The successful delivery of the step in performance that we demonstrated in Silverstone has lifted everyone involved with Virgin Racing. Since then, the aero group has been working hard on developing the car, so we'll be adding a host of new aero parts to both of the cars again as we deploy yet more of our digitally-developed downforce. In particular, we were delighted at Timo's positive reaction to our Silverstone upgrade, and we all hope that this next step will make this a happy home race for him in front of the fantastic German fans. The track itself has different chassis requirements to those of Silverstone, but we're confidant of demonstrating more progress. The difference in dry tyre compounds will be a challenge to deal with, and also it looks like we may have the fun of wet conditions thrown in. So all in all, we have plenty to look forward to in our first German Grand Prix.
Adrian Sutil, Force India
2008 Qualifying - 19th, 2008 Race - 15th
I feel like it's the second home race in a row as Silverstone is the team's base and now we're going to Hockenheim, which has a special meaning for me, of course. It was actually the first track I ever saw; I visited it on the way to see some family and just sat there, dreaming of what it could be like when I got to F1. To come back now, having achieved that aim, is just magic. I've raced at Hockenheim a lot of times with many different cars: in Formula Ford, Formula BMW and now F1 and I've had some of my strongest races there. I had a few wins and always when I finished I was on the podium. Now it will be a great feeling to go there with a really competitive F1 car and try to get the same success I achieved in my junior career. It's a great track. I never drove on the old version, although I did do the short track in 2002. The new version is a really nice circuit. The first corner is a challenging and quick one and then you have the long straight down to the tight hairpin, which is really slow, but good for overtaking. Then you come into the best sector on the track, right into the stadium. It's a nice right hander and you can feel the atmosphere, you can feel the people sitting there. The double right hander onto the start/finish line is a special corner, very difficult. I think if you have lots of experience on this track you can gain a little bit at this corner. I'm hoping for that home advantage! Ever since I've been in F1 there has always been a large German contingent in F1 and now with six, and one of them being Michael Schumacher, I hope we'll get an even bigger crowd and more atmosphere. For me personally, I just concentrate on my own game, getting the most out of the car and the team and scoring points. To get some points on my home ground - for the first time in F1 - would be a great feeling. Last year at the Nurburgring I started seventh but finished out of the points so I really want to try and finish the job now. We have a car that can do it and some small developments that should help. Yet again I'm feeling confident and comfortable and when I feel like that it normally shows out on track.
Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
I really enjoy racing at Hockenheim as I feel I grew up there. I raced in German Formula Three in 2002 and also won the 2004 F3000 race there. It's a great track, very flowing with some very fast curves and the Motodrom section is really like a stadium - you can hear the crowd over your helmet sometimes so it's an extra thrill. I've not raced there since 2006, when I finished 10th, so it's been a relatively good track for me. I'm looking forward to it. We also have some smaller new developments and if we can get the whole weekend together from start to finish we should be able to pick up some more points. We've really got to concentrate on getting into Q3 this race. We can easily get into Q2 but then we struggle a little to get the soft tyres to warm up. Adrian's had a similar issue in that on Saturday morning we are really confident after final practice, but in the afternoon it can go a bit wrong. If we can get the qualifying right - as we saw in Canada - then the race will come to us.
Paul di Resta, Force India third driver
It's a shame (not to drive during Practice One at Hockenheim) but I completely understand the decision. In Hockenheim Bridgestone are bringing two tyre compounds that are two steps apart - the supersoft and the hard - rather than just the one step as usual, so the drivers and the engineers need to understand the performance fully. It's a decision that's been taken relatively late but it's better to err on the side of caution at such a crucial stage in the season. The team is performing well but other teams are also making steps forward so we need to have as much information as possible to get every performance advantage we can. Hockenheim is a track I know well from the DTM and I was looking forward to getting out there in the F1 car, but it's a team effort and I am sure I can put some of the knowledge I have back into the overall weekend. I'll be back in the car in Hungary, replacing Tonio for FP1, so I'll resume my running there. In the meantime I'll join in the programme as usual - help out with meetings, on the pit wall and pick up as much information as I can. At this stage everything is part of the learning process.
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
If you look at what we presume to be the strengths and weaknesses of the car, Hockenheim is not as ideal as Spa or Monza. Having said that, it's Adrian's home race, and we are going to give it everything that we have. There are no dramatic updates, some tweaks to the rear wing and the rear suspension but I hope we'll hold position relative to where we were in Silverstone. If we can get both cars in the top ten in qualifying that will set us up very well for the race and I hope get another double points finish.
Rubens Barrichello, Williams
2008 Qualifying - 18th, 2008 Race - DNF
Hockenheim is a very challenging track, particularly for setting up the car. Despite the revisions a few years ago, the circuit still has a longish straight, but if you set up specifically for that you just lose time in the infield area. It's quite a high speed course, and you need straight line speed in order to attack into the corners. That really applies going into the hairpin which is a good place to overtake, in fact it's probably the best opportunity we have around the lap. The stadium section is tight and tough on tyres. The German Grand Prix is really popular among the fans, so the weekend has a great atmosphere and I enjoy going there. It's where I took my first Grand Prix win so I obviously have nice memories of this race. The team are still working hard to bring more improvements to the car. It would be positive to continue our recent run of form at Hockenheim and stay within the top ten.
Nico Hulkenberg, Williams
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
Racing in front of a home crowd is a different experience to going to any other Grand Prix. I know that the German fans are really looking forward to their race and they'll create a really buzzing atmosphere. Everything will be a little more focused on the German drivers, so it will be a busy weekend. Hockenheim is actually one of my favourite tracks on the calendar. I've had some strong races there in the past and some good results, especially the two wins in 2005 in the Formula BMW ADAC series. The track layout is quite interesting and the Motodrome is the best part of it. Its like a football stadium and has a very special atmosphere. There are very quick parts to the track, like turn one, as well as some slow and tight corners, which means we will have to find a good compromise on car set-up. Plus, we have to be quick on the straights because there is a good chance to overtake going into the hairpin. We have to be careful with the tyres as well because the track can be quite hard on them. Scoring a point at Silverstone was satisfying and motivating, but I am hungry for more and want to improve upon that result in Hockenheim.
Sam Michael, Williams technical director
After a couple of good race results at two quite different circuits, the team is looking forward to a competitive outing at Hockenheim. Our target is to qualify both cars in the top ten and to race for points. We have made some further modifications to the diffuser and also to the blown rear wing, which we'll test during Fridays practice sessions. Although the development race is fierce, testing restrictions really enable all of the teams to compete on equal terms.
Robert Kubica, Renault
2008 Qualifying - 7th, 2008 Race - 7th
Its a more normal track with a more normal mix of corners. There are two very high-speed corners, at Turn One and Turn 12, and the rest are low and medium-speed. The track surface is very smooth, so you have to get the absolute maximum out of the cars mechanical grip, and there is also one very long straight, where you have to make sure the car is competitive on top speed. All the cars we are racing already have an F-duct system, and this makes our life harder because we may have to reduce downforce to be competitive on top speed, which could cost us in the corners. We will have to evaluate the best compromise for us on Friday. At first sight, the super-soft may struggle to do even one lap in qualifying and the hard compound could go on forever! The weather and the track conditions will have a big influence on how they perform: from experience, it will be tricky to make the super-soft tyre work properly, while the hard tyre should be okay. The other factor is that we may see a big balance shift between compounds, and that may make the weekend quite tricky and interesting from the tyre point of view. As usual, I will try to do my best and to extract the maximum from the car. Most of the teams we are racing now have both the f-duct and the blown floor, so I think it could be quite a tough weekend, and we need to make sure that our pace is more competitive than at the last race. But if its what we call a tough weekend for us is like in Silverstone, when we still could have finished P4 or P5, then Ill take it straight away.
Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
I know the circuit because Ive raced there before in GP2. Its quite a difficult track and there is usually close racing so you need to be quite tactical with your driving. There are some corners where you can overtake, like the hairpin at the end of the long back straight. Overall I think it should be a good circuit for our car. As always the first target is to be close to Roberts pace. Then I need to qualify in the top ten and finish the race. I think that qualifying is my number one priority for the weekend because we know how it important it is for the outcome of the race.
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus
2008 Qualifying - 3rd, 2008 Race - 5th
Germanys always a good race - Hockenheims usually hot and the fans make sure theres a great atmosphere around the whole circuit. The stadium section in particular is amazing - with all the horns blowing, the flags flying and the odd flare being set off, it feels like you are in a football stadium or something. That makes it a great place to watch from if youre a spectator, and for the drivers its cool - we can see all the fans packed into the stands and it looks pretty hardcore. The circuit itself is pretty good. You can overtake at the end of the long straight at the hairpin but there arent many other places where you can get past. Its relatively hard on tyres and in the past the heat has made the tyres blister, but we shouldnt get any of those problems with this years tyres. Bridgestone are bringing a super soft and a hard, so there should be a clear performance difference between the two - well see how that shapes up over the weekend.
Jarno Trulli, Lotus
2008 Qualifying - 4th, 2008 Race - 9th
Hockenheim has some real history and in its old guise it demanded a lot from the drivers, in terms of setup, driving and in getting all the little details right. However, now its a more conventional circuit, and while I like it, I preferred the old layout. I was on the podium there a while back, and I won the German F3 Championship there many years ago, so it does hold a lot of good memories for me. Its always hot when we go there, and the fans are very passionate, so I hope we can put on a good show for them, and show what Lotus Racing is all about.
Riad Asmat, Lotus Racing CEO
Firstly it was great to see Fairuz in the car in Silverstone on Friday; testing is obviously extremely limited so it was good for him to get some experience and practice in the car. He certainly deserved his time in the cockpit but mechanical problems unfortunately meant he didnt get as much track time car as he could have - we are running him in FP1 in Hockenheim instead of Hungary, so hes getting another chance to show what he can do a week early and itll be good to see him back on track again in Germany. I was in the car with Tony (Fernandes) on the way to Silverstone on Saturday when he reminded me that it was at the British Grand Prix in 2009 that he first met Mike (Gascoyne) and the Lotus Racing dream began. He was quite nostalgic and was telling me that a year ago he couldnt drive in certain places around the track without the sticker on his car, whereas now he is a team principal he can go everywhere! Well, almost He has built so much out of the dreams he has pursued, with success of course, and he believes that Lotus Racing is another opportunity that will be a success. Last weekend was a year to the day that this adventure began, and now were already looking five years down the road and how far we can go.
Dieter Gass, Lotus sporting director
Were all looking forward to Hockenheim. Obviously the circuit is quite different now from how it used to be in the past - then, it was an extremely difficult circuit on which to find a decent set up - long straights that took you into the forest and then slow corners in the Motodrom stadium section meant it was hard to find a suitable compromise between downforce and grip - you dont have to make such a big compromise anymore because the straights simply arent as long now. But, you still dont run maximum downforce here - you take a bit of wing off to take account of the straight, and give the driver the chance to overtake at the end of that, in Turn Six. I think our car will suit the circuit well. You have a different speed profile than Silverstone, which didnt really suit our car, but in Hockenheim I think well be better off. We had a big update package in Silverstone which we couldnt exploit fully as we were lacking running and setup time, so well be looking to get the best out of that in the Friday and Saturday practice sessions. Well be able to play with the ballast a bit more here as well, which will help us find a better balance, and the team have spent some time in the factory this week practicing pit stops, so we should see the times come down in Germany. All in all it should be a good weekend.
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone director of motorsport tyre development
"This will be the first time that we have raced at Hockenheim with slicks since 1997, and the circuit configuration then was very different. The circuit layout features a long left hander before the hairpin where it is important to have good stability. After the hairpin, there are strong traction demands on the rear tyres. Elsewhere, a good overall balance is required. We have a unique opportunity with the nature of the Hockenheim circuit allowing us to bring the softest and the hardest tyres from our range. This should provide a challenge for everyone and should be interesting. The weather will play a factor too. If it is hot then the super soft will be a challenge to manage for stability and durability. If it is cold then ensuring the hard is in its temperature operating window will be a tough task."
Sakon Yamamoto, HRT
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
I have a lot of good memories of the circuit in Hockenheim. I like the track layout with the passing point at the end of the long straight and also the Stadium sector, which is very challenging. There is always a nice atmosphere with the spectators at the grandstands and I am always looking forward to come back to Hockenheim. Compared to Silverstone, I think we are more competitive and we can achieve a good result again. The last race weekend was very exciting for me. Now, the team has given me another chance to race on Sunday and I will do my best to prove that it was the right decision.
Bruno Senna, HRT
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
I am looking forward to the race in Hockenheim as I have had a podium finish in GP2 in 2008 and I really like this track. It is a very interesting circuit with a mix of a wide and fast new section and a twisty and technical old part, which makes it challenging to set the car up. The stadium area is extremely difficult to get right and catches the driver on how much speed you can carry and how much of the track you can use. Hockenheim is one of the circuits where downforce is not as important as Silverstone or Barcelona, so I believe we will be slightly more competitive against the other new teams and I hope to have a good battle against them.
Colin Kolles, HRT team principal
After the solid result we could achieve in Silverstone, we want to go on like this and show a good performance again. The circuit in Hockenheim has a mix of slow and medium speed corners, and it requires strong measures of downforce. Because of this mix, it will be challenging to find the right set-up for the car. About 60 per cent of the track is run under full throttle and it is especially demanding for the aerodynamic efficiency of the car, as well as the engine.
Pedro de la Rosa, BMW Sauber
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
"Actually I know the old Hockenheimring better than the new one, but the shorter lay-out definitely makes for very good racing. This is especially down to the great overtaking opportunity before the hairpin. I hope we can carry on with the performance we had in Silverstone, although Hockenheim doesn't offer so many high speed corners. The team has improved the car quite a lot since Valencia, and in Silverstone we were able to get the most out of the car's potential. It was very good on Saturday and, of course, I was deeply disappointed when I could not finish the race and score. But I have to look forward, and I think I can fight for points. The Hockenheim track tends to be hard on the rear tyres and we will have to work around that."
Kamui Kobayashi, BMW Sauber
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
"I know the Hockenheim circuit pretty well as I have raced there in Formula Renault, Formula Three and GP2. I actually quite like the track. It has some narrow sections, but also a long straight and this combination makes it a very technical circuit. It is not easy to find the right set-up for the car there, and this is an interesting challenge. After two good races recently I hope we can keep our momentum and develop the car further. If the new update we will be getting for the German Grand Prix also works, as the last two did for Valencia and Silverstone, I'm confident of scoring points again."
James Key, BMW Sauber technical director
"After two good races we obviously want to carry on the momentum as best we can at Hockenheim. It's quite a different track to the last two. It's more a mix of slow speed corners in the final section, where you can gain lap time if you get it right, and to a certain extent quite a bit of straight line running. It's going be a trade off between downforce and drag. Braking stability will be important to get the best out of the slow speed corners. There are some high speed areas, which we think will suit our car well. Most interestingly it's a circuit where you have one or two good overtaking opportunities. Tyre compounds are extreme, they are either very soft or very hard, so it will be interesting to see how that works out for qualifying and the race. This will increase the workload on Friday and Saturday to make sure we have a good understanding of both compounds. We will have several aero updates on our C29, including a modified diffuser. It's a package which is again a step in the same direction we've been pursuing for Valencia and Silverstone."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes GP
2008 Qualifying - 13th, 2008 Race - 10th
"As a German driver, the German Grand Prix is always a very special weekend, and it will be even better this year to be racing there for Mercedes-Benz. I have great memories from Hockenheim as I won there in all the junior categories that I competed in, including my first single seater race win. There's always a great atmosphere at the German Grand Prix and the fans are very enthusiastic with the huge grandstands in the stadium section creating so much noise! It's fantastic to see their support for the German drivers. I love the track itself as it's quite challenging with some good overtaking opportunities and the races here can often be quite exciting. Going into one of the team's home weekends with the podium finish from Silverstone is a real boost for us, and we will be working hard to continue our improvement in performance and have a strong weekend."
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP
2008 Qualifying - n/a, 2008 Race - n/a
"There is one thing for sure; no matter how long you are around, it is always something special to race in front of your home crowd. At Hockenheim, I will definitely try my best for my fans who give me such a lot of support, especially over the race weekend. But the German Grand Prix is very special for any German driver. There are very few areas on any race circuit worldwide comparable to the Motodrom, and as a driver you feel that energetic atmosphere when entering. It will be the first time for me to come to Hockenheim as a Mercedes driver and I am very much looking forward to the experience. Driving in front of our grandstand and in front of all the employees, members and friends of Mercedes-Benz will be an emotional moment. I will therefore be extra motivated to give them a weekend to remember. We will have some updates for our car which we hope will give us a step forward so we can look forward to an exciting race."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP team principal
"The next race at Hockenheim will be our first German Grand Prix as the Mercedes-Benz works team and everyone at Mercedes is looking forward to the occasion. Following two difficult races, we had a stronger weekend at Silverstone where we were able to extract most of the performance from our current package. It was important that we learnt from our experiences and made improvements with Nico's podium finish being a fitting reward for the hard work by the team at Brackley and Brixworth prior to the race. The modifications which we made to our latest upgrades worked well and we will have a further step in Hockenheim which, with careful management, should also prove to be an improvement. Two home races in a row ensures a busy time for our team and drivers and we hope to demonstrate an equally good performance at Hockenheim in front of our German fans and colleagues as at Silverstone last weekend."
Norbert Haug, vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"The German Grand Prix at Hockenheim is a classic for Mercedes-Benz, and with particular pleasure we remember the last race in 2008 when Lewis Hamilton won in a McLaren Mercedes. Now, two years later, we will race at home for the first time with our new Silver Arrows works team Mercedes GP. We cannot assume to repeat our victory from the last Hockenheim race however we want to present our new team in the best possible way. Nico achieved this at Silverstone when he came home in third place for a podium finish, and it would be nice to repeat such a result at the Mercedes-Benz home race. At Hockenheim, we will have many fans who will keep their fingers crossed for Michael, Nico and the Silver Arrows. The 6500 tickets in the Mercedes-Benz grandstand have never sold out quicker than this year and we will have a fantastic programme around the grandstand for all Hockenheim visitors. Driver interviews, test drives with new Mercedes cars at the Safety Driving Centre and live music will all make for an entertaining weekend for our fans. Of course, we do not forget that what counts is what happens on the track and there we want to finish in the best possible way."
Jenson Button, McLaren
2008 Qualifying - 14th, 2008 Race - 17th
My most memorable experience at Hockenheim must be back in 2004, when I qualified 13th and raced through the field to finish second - so not too dissimilar to my race at Silverstone last week, then! Seriously, though, I enjoy racing at Hockenheim: I miss the long, flat-out straights that made up the circuit at the start of my Formula One career, that was pretty unique. But the current track is better for the spectators and has shown itself to be a very good place for both racing and overtaking. After two disappointments in qualifying at Valencia and Silverstone, my aim for this weekend must be to make life easier for myself on Saturday afternoon, so that I can maximise my performance on Sunday without needing to play catch-up during the race. This will be another busy weekend for all of us as we spend Friday working through the changes weve made to optimise the blown diffuser. Hopefully, well have a positive test and will be able to see the benefits of the upgrades in the race for the first time. Im looking forward to it.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2008 Qualifying - 1st, 2008 Race - 1st
I won the last race at Hockenheim in 2008 - we had a fantastic car, I got pole position and had a great battle through the field after a mid-race safety car to win. So Id really love the same outcome next weekend! While there are quite a few low-speed corners that require good traction, I think well be on more familiar ground at Hockenheim, and should be able to successfully balance our car to be relatively competitive around there. The big question mark surrounds some of the other top teams - theyve shown improved performance over the past two or three races, even if theyve not fully managed to score the results that their pace suggests. So it will be interesting to see just how close things have become up at the sharp-end, because this could affect the way the world championship plays out, particularly if more teams start challenging for victory in the second half of the season. So I think the Santander German Grand Prix will give us a very good read on form for the second half of the season.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
Weve come off an extremely successful run of recent races, but were nonetheless under no illusions that we need to bring further performance to the MP4-25 if we are to remain at the forefront of this championship battle. I think Silverstone showed that we were in no mood to be complacent - either in our aggressive push to put upgrades on the car or our decision to remove them and put our faith in an older iteration of the car, despite a lack of running compared with our rivals. Its ambition and decisiveness that win world championships, and, on both counts, I think we got that blend just right last weekend, which is pleasing. The days since the Santander British Grand Prix have been spent back at the MTC industriously undertaking rig tests, dyno running and development in the wind tunnel to ensure that the future deployment of the blown diffuser gives us a more accurate and beneficial read. Of course, that final validation will only come at the circuit. So were looking at undertaking a major test programme on Friday at Hockenheim. This will involve both drivers running back-to-back evaluations with the T2 and T3 floors. And, if these prove positive, well then look at the deployment of the new floor for the remainder of the race weekend. But thats a decision well only make after a thorough analysis of the inherent risks and benefits.
More to follow.