Great Britain preview quotes - Marussia, Sauber, Lotus & more 29 Jun 2012
Great Britain is home to eight of the 12 Formula One teams, in full or in part, so its no wonder theres always a special atmosphere in the paddock at Silverstone, one the calendars oldest, fastest and most challenging venues. Those involved in the 2012 Formula 1 Santander British Grand Prix discuss their prospects
Timo Glock, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - 20th, 2011 Race - 16th
Silverstone is a very important weekend for the whole team, so Im looking forward to it and happy that the problems of Valencia are behind me. We have some substantial upgrade developments which I hope will give us a little step forward and ensure we can have a good showing. Silverstone is a track I really enjoy; one of my favourites. It still has a lot of high speed corners and it is a completely different challenge to the last two tracks we have raced at. Normally it can be very interesting with the weather; not just the sunshine or rain, but it can often be quite windy, which can upset the car quite a lot from day to day and from session to session. Overall, I cant wait to get back in the car and work with the team towards a smooth home race for the fantastic British fans, the partners and all our guests on what will be a very busy weekend.
Charles Pic, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
I have always found Silverstone to be an amazing race track, and I won there in Formula Renault 3.5 back in 2009, so Im really happy that it is the venue for my teams home race next weekend. I love the fantastic fast corners, particularly from Copse through Becketts and on to Stowe. I am now eager to see the new aero package results on the track. It is quite a comprehensive step for the team and the result of a really collaborative effort. Having turned the corner a little bit in the race in Valencia, I hope we can continue this way and that the package will have a positive contribution. I am optimistic for a good weekend because this is the only time the guys who always work back at our team base in Banbury will get to the see the cars in action; it will be nice to give them a happy reward for their relentless hard work as this is their race! It is also good news that Timo will be back with us next weekend. Off-track it is going to be very busy with plenty of PR activity with the partners and our fans, but I know we can expect a massive reception from them, which will give the team an extra boost."
John Booth, Marussia team principal
Theres no place like home when it comes to racing. We visit some fantastic venues all over the world, but the opportunity to race on home asphalt is a special one and well be grabbing it with both hands next weekend when we compete at Silverstone. Although this will be our third home race, it is the first since we moved our day to day operations to Banbury from South Yorkshire. We are now based just a little over 17 miles from Silverstone, which means we really are racing in our own backyard.
We have a fairly significant upgrade for this race, comprising a new rear wing, exhausts, floor and sidepods. I would have to describe this as our first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade of the season; weve had some smaller parts in Malaysia and China, and a few small iterations recently, but this is the first fully developed package that is not just a modification of existing elements. That is a big result in itself, aside from the performance step we hope it will bring us, as it means we have caught up with ourselves in terms of the diligent way in which we have approached and developed our Technical Partnership. We look forward to seeing what this brings, both at Silverstone and at Duxford Airfield beforehand, when we will be integrating the developments into our correlation programme. Duxford is also the first of our test driver Maria De Villotas scheduled track days. She has been waiting patiently all year for this date to come around, so we look forward to seeing her in the car for the first time.
Theres so much to say about the whole Silverstone experience; the fans are incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic and it is a real delight to have their support. We will also be putting on a big show for our partners, who also turn out in force for this event. In turn, we hope to reward them, and our whole team, with a great weekend on the race track. With Timo back to strength and Charles looking to build on a great performance in Valencia, we have good reason to be excited about what our home race can bring.
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 8th, 2011 Race - DNF
Im really looking forward to this race, and my expectations are quite high. Silverstone is one of my favourite circuits. Our cars were always good in medium and high speed corners, but with the Sauber C31 we have also improved the performance in slow corners, which means we should have no problems with the new part of the track, which was introduced in 2010. Despite the fact I have to cope with a penalty, which will send me five places down the grid, Im optimistic for this race. I believe we have the potential to achieve something special in England and I hope for a little more luck as well.
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2011 Race - 7th
I really like the Silverstone circuit. I have won there in Formula Three and in GP2 and also last year my first Formula One race was good. I came seventh and this was actually my best race result in 2011. Back then it was a crazy race in difficult weather conditions with the track drying. I think our car will be good in Silverstone and I want to fight for another podium there. In my view in Silverstone it is even more difficult to overtake than it was in Valencia, therefore qualifying is high priority on the job list. I need a better grid position than recently. I like the fast and fluid corners a lot, so this is a very enjoyable part of the track. The race in Silverstone is a special Grand Prix - because of the fans and the atmosphere and also for me personally. I lived in Oxford for three years and I have quite a few friends in England.
Giampaolo DallAra, Sauber head of track engineering
The Silverstone circuit is very different from the last two tracks weve been racing on. It has some challenging high speed corners and requires a set-up which is optimised with regard to aerodynamics as well as changes of direction. Silverstone has the charm of some of the older tracks with a surface that is not perfect and quite bumpy in some places. It also offers some real challenges for the drivers. The straights are not very long, therefore we can afford to run quite a lot of downforce. The DRS zone is in the same place as last year, in the section that was built a couple of years ago. Its length is quite limited which means overtaking is not so easy. We will be running the soft and the hard tyre compounds, which I expect to suit this track nicely, and also warming-up should not be an issue. An important factor in Silverstone is always the weather, an aspect we need to take into consideration when preparing for the race weekend, and something which we might to need to adapt to during the race. Our Sauber C31 will get an aerodynamic development package, which includes some modifications of the engine cover and the rear of the car. Looking at the layout of this track and the characteristics of our car, I think we can approach this race weekend with a lot of optimism.
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
Its always such a good feeling going to Silverstone. Its a great place to race. I have a long history there. It was the real base for the start of my international racing career in Formula Renault in 1999 and 2000. Since then Ive always enjoyed racing at Silverstone. I dont know why; there must be this nostalgic feeling that I have every time we go there. Ill enjoy the weekend whatever the weather will be. Weve seen quite a lot of different conditions there in the past, and not always good!
Its always windy at Silverstone and often it rains, too. The track conditions change very quickly, which makes the car more tricky to set up. Its part of the fun racing in England; at least its the same for everybody.
When I first raced there it was my real favourite. Its so fast and demanding which makes it very challenging. The corners really flow and its all about long, sweeping high-speed corners and high
downforce levels. Somehow it has been a good circuit for me since the very beginning. It will be interesting to see how the new section changes a lap, but Im sure Ill learn it very quickly.
When you win in Silverstone, it gives such a good feeling. You have to get everything exactly right. I won there in Formula Renault and then with Ferrari in 2007. It would be fantastic to win again there, especially with the factory just down the road. Im sure we would have some fantastic celebrations.
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
I think we head to Silverstone with more confidence. We understand a few more things with the car. It was good to have a really hot weekend all the way through at Valencia as we were able to work on the car and really analyse things. Silverstone is very high speed; Im confident well have strong pace and that should lead to a good race.
I won on [the new Silverstone layout] in the GP2 Series last year, so Im not too bad on the track! Its the same for everybody. Its challenging, but it has a good feel. Its one of the quickest tracks of the year. There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. What a feeling... Its a special Grand Prix for our team as the factory is very close to the track. It will be nice to see them. They are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. I will be visiting them after the race and hopefully we can go there with some good silverware to show them.
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
Its good for everyone to be so close to the factory and certainly our travel expenses are lower for this event! We will have a lot of visitors from Enstone and it is fantastic to have the support of everyone who is working so hard over the year. We will have to see about the weather in Silverstone, but regardless of whether its hot or cold we need to do well. Its a different layout and were back to a permanent race track after the last three street courses so well have to see how we do.
James Allison, Lotus technical director
The track itself will put plenty of energy through the tyres thanks to its layout of high speed corners and the abrasion of its surface. While we would be delighted if the UK managed one of its occasional heat waves, theres certainly potential for the surface temperature to be cooler than Valencia. Low track temperatures would only cause us grief in qualifying, and if we can manage that ourselves rather than needing the track to heat up our tyres then it will be okay.
The updates we used in Valencia went reasonably well. We had three or four bits that certainly improved matters and a couple of parts were still looking to improve. For Silverstone there are some additional tweaks on the car which only those with the very keenest eyes would notice, but were hoping they are a step in the right direction.
Its the first track for a while with challenging high-speed corners. Things went reasonably well for us in Mugello, Barcelona, Sepang and Melbourne, so were quite hopeful that the E20 will prosper.
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 3rd
Im really looking forward to the British Grand Prix and racing in front of a sell-out crowd thats passionate about F1. Many of them will be there to cheer on the Brits, so theres some irony in the fact that Silverstone is actually the local track for both the Aussie F1 drivers on the grid; Daniel Ricciardo and I are based in Buckinghamshire! Its a great time of the year for British sport, with Wimbledon on at present and the Olympic Games just around the corner. Im sure the British Grand Prix wont disappoint; were going to Silverstone with one goal in mind and thats to win!
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 2nd, 2011 Race - 2nd
Even after the track was amended for the 2011 race, it didn't lose its magic. For me as a driver it is one of the best and interesting tracks of all. The atmosphere is great, British fans enthusiastically support their countrymen, but at the same time theyre very objective and fair in judging the performance of the non-British drivers. On top of that they are experts about F1. The track is demanding for a driver and provides everything a driver likes, including the unpredictable weather which is possible in July in Silverstone.
Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 5th, 2011 Race - DNF
Im really looking forward to the Santander British Grand Prix. Weve been making progress in a lot of areas and while I wasnt able to show that in terms of the result at Valencia - mainly because I got boxed in at the start, then wasnt very lucky with the safety car - our strategy was fine and the car improved throughout the race.
This has been an incredibly unpredictable season, but at least its a little easier to predict that Silverstone will once again be packed and that all the British drivers are going to get a lift from the energy the fans bring. I always enjoy racing at home because the atmosphere is unbeatable, and while the race itself hasnt always been too kind to me, I come here every year knowing I can count on the support of the many thousands of fans.
We all had to adjust last year to starting in a different place on the circuit, which is a very odd thing when youve spent your entire racing career treating Copse as Turn One! Formula One is all about evolution, about looking to the future, and Silverstone has demonstrated its adaptability all through the years. Its part of the fabric of F1, and still one of the worlds greatest motor racing circuits.
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - 4th
Sometimes you have to accept when things don't go your way in racing. Obviously it was frustrating to lose out so close to the finish [in Valencia], but thats motor racing: you put it behind you and move on to the next race - which, happily for me, is at my home circuit of Silverstone.
It doesnt really alter the way I go racing because I race to win, and thats what Ill be doing, especially at my home grand prix. The Santander British Grand Prix is special because I get a massive boost from all the fans. To me, winning at Silverstone is right up there with winning at Monaco. Standing on the top step of the podium in 2008 was among the sweetest moments of my career.
I know we can count on the fans to bring a totally unique atmosphere. Were going to give it everything weve got, put on a great show. This is an incredible summer of sport for Britain and I want to play my small part in bringing some joy to fans. I will be doing everything possible to get a win for my country on home soil.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
"The races so far this season have been very difficult to read, and while that may be frustrating for some, it also creates opportunities. It has also made for some incredibly exciting races and challenged many preconceptions - as we saw last time out at Valencia, a circuit at which established wisdom tells you there are very few opportunities to overtake.
As we look forward to the Santander British Grand Prix, therefore, we have to keep an open mind from the minute we arrive to the moment the chequered flag is unfurled. The team that best manages the performance delta of the tyres is the one best placed to win, and to do that you have to take every opportunity to gather data and learn from it quickly and effectively. Today, Grands Prix are no longer sprint races that are won or lost on the first lap.
While that means hard work for us and for our rivals, it is excellent news for the fans in the grandstands and for those watching at home. It means excitement from beginning to end, and that is what Formula One must continue to offer.
This is our home race and we approach it, as ever, determined to win. I genuinely expect the Santander British Grand Prix to be an unmissable spectacle.
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - DNF
Silverstone is a great track to race at, both because its one of our two home races and because its a proper drivers track. Even with the changes that have been made over the years it is still what F1 is all about high-speed corners that really push the performance of the car. The new section is probably the least exciting bit of the track from inside the cockpit but the classic corners from Copse and Maggots to Becketts is right up there with some of the best corners on the calendar.
Honestly, I cant wait to get back in the car and see what we can do at this years British Grand Prix. At the last race in Valencia we clearly made improvements, enough to help me put the car into Q2 on merit and we have more upgrades coming for Silverstone. For this race its important that we carry our qualifying speed and good reliability through into Sunday as issues like the KERS problem I had in Valencia impact all the hard work the team is doing at the factory and in the wind tunnel to get us where we want to be. If we can do that I think we can have another very good weekend and Im really looking forward to giving our home fans something to cheer for.
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 14th, 2011 Race - 12th
The British Grand Prix is one of the best races of the calendar for several reasons. Its a fantastic place to race at because of the exciting atmosphere and the special love the British fans have for motorsport. As the UK is home to a lot of the teams, including Caterham F1 Team, the whole place is always full of fans, whether its raining or the sun is burning everybody! They are some of the most knowledgeable, passionate fans in the world and they give the whole place a special atmosphere all weekend.
As well be bringing more new parts to the British Grand Prix I think its another race where well be able to take a step forwards. Im sure everyone else will be bringing upgrades so we need to make sure that we dont just make gains, but we improve more than our nearest rivals. Thats a big challenge but after seeing the gap to Toro Rosso shrink in Valencia we have a clear target just ahead and that gave the whole team a real boost. Hopefully well be able to make similar levels of progress at Silverstone - if we do I think the British Grand Prix could be very interesting. The team made great progress in Valencia and I really hope that we will continue in the same manner at the next race.
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
We left Valencia after a very positive weekend for the whole team. One of the most pleasing aspects for me was seeing that the numbers we had predicted for the upgrades we brought there matched what we did on track, and that gives us a lot of confidence that future upgrade packages should continue the trend we are seeing of the gap to the teams ahead shrinking.
For Silverstone we will be bringing a number of new parts, including new rear bodywork, a revised exhaust layout and a number of smaller updates in other bodywork areas around the car. I do not want to make any predictions at this point on what they could be worth, but if we repeat the step forward we made in Valencia we should have another positive weekend.
Tony Fernandes, Caterham team principal
The European Grand Prix was a very significant race for our team as it was the first time we took on and beat an established midfield team in a straight fight on merit in qualifying. Yes, Heikkis benefited from the issues Mark Webber had on Saturday, but we are now quick enough to take advantage of that sort of opportunity and knock one of the established teams back into the positions we have been filling since we started in the sport just over two and a half years ago.
Our performance on Sunday was also extremely positive, with all areas of the team performing at 100 percent to help us record our best positions of the season, despite both cars being forced to change nosecones after contact with the Toro Rossos. We said at the start of the season that our goals for this year are to score our first point and to join the midfield and I think it is fair to say that we are achingly close to being able to achieve those targets.
Silverstone will give us another chance to show that we can make good on those objectives and the upgrades we are bringing will give both Heikki and Vitaly the chance to repeat our qualifying performance in Valencia, and, more importantly, to be able to fight for their track positions from the moment the lights go out on Sunday, right to the end of the race. To see our cars racing a team who were 1.6 seconds ahead of us in qualifying for the first race this year is obviously a very good feeling, for me and my fellow shareholders, our partners and sponsors, our fans and the whole team.
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2011 Race - 9th
"Racing in Silverstone is a special moment every year. It's quite simply the home of motorsport and I'm always amazed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the British fans - as a racing driver, it's great to experience this passion for our sport. On a personal level, I have many contrasting memories of this circuit; good, not so good and some that are even a little strange... as for how things will go this year, I'd prefer to wait and see. We have already seen plenty of races this year that turned out differently to the expectations before the weekend. Of course, we want to take the momentum from our result in Valencia and put on a good show in Silverstone, especially because this is one of our home races. It goes without saying that we want to give everybody in Brackley and Brixworth a result to be proud of this weekend."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - 6th
"Silverstone is a great race for us as most of our team members will be there to watch with their families. I always love the atmosphere there over the weekend and the great British motorsport fans. My best result on this exciting track was third place so, of course, I will be hoping to top that but it's so hard to make any predictions of performance this season. It's a demanding track with a lot of high-speed corners dominating the layout, especially from Copse through Becketts to Stowe.
It's difficult to know how good we will be but I'm hopeful that we can achieve a good result."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"As with any of our home races, the British Grand Prix is really a very special weekend for the team, particularly because its proximity to our two Northamptonshire-based factories enables so many of our employees to see our cars in action. Silverstone has a very special atmosphere, with the British fans being so passionate about motorsport, and the new developments which we saw last year have really contributed to creating a fantastic venue for the Grand Prix weekend. Our successful weekend in Valencia has provided a further boost to the team, with a lot of hard work continuing at the factories to further improve our performance, and we look forward to having another strong weekend at Silverstone."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Silverstone is one of the most challenging circuits of the year, with average qualifying lap speeds of over 220 km/h and seven of the 18 corners taken at over 250 km/h. It is a complete test of both car and driver. This is also a special race for our Silver Arrows works team, with our factories in Brackley and Brixworth both located nearby the circuit, and our colleagues will be watching our British home race with particular attention. Since his first win in China on 15th April, Nico has scored 75 points in six races, just one fewer than championship leader Fernando Alonso in the same period. Michael finished on the podium in third place in Valencia, after technical problems in the previous rounds had prevented him from scoring a similar number of points to his team-mate. Our full focus is now on improving our speed and achieving total reliability. It is also worth noting that the three British drivers on the grid this weekend will be racing with Mercedes-Benz power and, indeed, Mercedes-Benz was part of the last 30 victories for British drivers in Formula One. Silverstone can lay claim to being one of the homes of motorsport and the fans there are among the most knowledgeable. Everybody in the team is looking forward to this classic race with the aim of delivering a good performance."
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"Silverstone is a beautiful and classic circuit; its a place I really like. Ive raced in many categories there: Formula Ford, Formula Renault, Formula 3 and Formula 1. Its a quick, high-downforce track with a lot of quick corners linked together. Its very demanding on the tyres, so the logical thing is to go for three stops. Strategies will play a big part. Its not the most favourable circuit for us so were going to have to grind our teeth because, apart from that, its also one of the toughest tracks for a driver. Were going to try and continue the good work from the last Grands Prix, finish this race and improve on our result in Valencia. That is our objective.
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"Ive got very good memories of Silverstone as Ive raced a lot there in the past in junior categories, its one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and a place I expect to do well. Copse and the Becketts complex are special corners and are up there with the most exciting ones in the championship but I dont know the new part of the circuit as I didnt race at Silverstone last year so it will take me a few laps to adapt. After a positive weekend in Valencia, with a good performance in qualifying, Im hoping to continue from there and build on it in Great Britain.
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"In Valencia we had a positive weekend and were able to confirm the good sensations wed felt in the last few races. Silverstone is one of the most emblematic and historic circuits in the Championship and racing there is always something special. We want to see how our car performs at the British track with the latest upgrades because its a track that contains various quick turns and thats where we suffer most. On another note, Im happy that Dani [Clos] will have a new opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the car for the first free practice session. This time hell be able to get more out of the session because in Barcelona there were many things to test and he had to focus on them, but now hell be able to get the most out of the experience. Besides, it will be the second time he drives the F112 this season so he wont be stepping into the unknown and wont need a period to adapt.
Dani Clos, HRT test driver
"Im very happy to step into the F112 once again in Silverstone, a place where Ive got good memories since Ive made the podium every time Ive been in GP2. After Barcelona Ive really been looking forward to this new opportunity. The work were carrying out with the team is positive and I think that I can make a good contribution. I will be able to run in better conditions than in Barcelona because the car was new back then and I had to carry out various aero tests. Now Ive got a new opportunity, not to prove anything but to work with the team and evolve as much as we can.
More to follow.
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