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Germany preview quotes - Force India, Pirelli, Lotus & more 04 Jul 2013

Adrian Sutil (GER) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai, China, Thursday, 11 April 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM06.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 13 April 2013 Paul Hembery (GBR) Pirelli Motorsport Director with FanVision.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Korean Grand Prix, Practice, Korea International Circuit, Yeongam, South Korea, Friday, 12 October 2012 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Race Day, Silverstone, England, Sunday, 30 June 2013 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Alan Permane (GBR) Lotus F1 Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday, 28 June 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 John Booth (GBR) Marussia Racing Team Principal in the Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, German Grand Prix, Practice, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Thursday, 18 April 2013 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Practice, Sepang, Malaysia, Friday, 22 March 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Chinese Grand Prix, Race Day, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 14 April 2013 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 16 March 2013 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 14 March 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 15 March 2013 Mike Coughlan (GBR) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 5 October 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Giedo van der Garde (NDL) Caterham F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 21 March 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday, 19 April 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Sunday, 21 April 2013 Tom McCullough (GBR) Sauber Head of Track Engineering.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 1 March 2013 Remi Taffin (FRA), head of Renault Sport F1 track operations in the Press Conference
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Practice, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Friday, 2 November 2012

After the high-speed thrills of Silverstone, round nine of the championship sees the paddock return to Germany’s technically challenging Nurburgring circuit for the first time since 2011. Those involved in the Formula 1 Grosser Preis Santander von Deutschland 2013 discuss their prospects for the coming weekend…

Adrian Sutil, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 8th, 2011 Race - 6th

“Racing in your home country is always special, even more so at a historical circuit like the Nurburgring. I spent a lot of time racing there during my early years, but only three times in Formula One. It's a track that requires a lot of different skills from the driver, with a technical first sector, a flowing middle part and a fast end to the lap. The layout can catch you out sometimes, especially on some kerbs - such as the final chicane.”

Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 12th, 2011 Race - 13th

“It’s a very different track and not so demanding on the tyres compared to Silverstone. We should be competitive and if we can maximise all three days we will be in good shape. I’ve only raced at the Nurburgring once in Formula One a couple of years ago and I got hit going into the first corner so it would be good to put things right this weekend. I know the place well from my DTM days, although we always used to race on the shorter version. The weather is always a factor there because of the location and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some rain at some point. The track is a mix of everything, but it’s important to have good mechanical grip to perform well in the slower sections at the start and end of the lap.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“We are now 22 points ahead of McLaren: they are on 37, and we have 59. It’s all very well to say we are widening the gap, but McLaren is such a formidable team, with such a fantastic track record, they can wipe out that entire gap by winning just one race. I would not take it for granted that we will hang on to fifth, but we will make every attempt. We expect to carry our form into this weekend. In the last few races we’ve seen our speed and we’ve managed to get Paul in the points on three occasions from the back of the grid. It’s a home race for Adrian, a track he enjoys, and we will go there determined to continue our run of finishes with two cars in the points.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“Surprisingly, the Nurburgring is one of the circuits that we have the least experience of, having only raced there once before in Formula One, but we’re certain that we have chosen the correct compromise between performance and durability by bringing the medium and soft compounds. These were actually the same compounds that we chose for this track in 2011, but since then the tyres have got softer and faster, so we would expect a quicker race time with an average of three pit stops for most drivers. The Nurburgring is not on the whole an especially demanding circuit for tyres but there are still some distinctive aspects to look out for when it comes to tyre management, such as the kerbing on the chicanes. We are expecting a performance gap of 0.8-1.0 second between the two nominated compounds, which should make the strategy options versatile. For this race only, we will bring Kevlar-belted rear tyres, following the incidents at the British Grand Prix. Even though the 2013 high-performance steel-belted version is completely safe when used correctly, the Kevlar-belted version is easier to manage and as long as there is no system in place which allows us to enforce tyre related specifications, like tyre pressures or camber, the incorrect use of which were contributing factors of the tyre failures in Silverstone, we prefer to bring a less sophisticated tyre. From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards there will be a completely new range of tyres, combining the characteristics of our 2012 tyres with the increased performance of the 2013 specification.”

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I have always enjoyed driving in Germany, but the problem is that luck has never been on my side there and something has always happened to stop me winning. I’ve got four poles to show my speed on German soil, but six retirements at this race haven’t been what I wanted. Obviously in the past both circuits - the Nurburgring and Hockenheim - have not been very kind to me, but I like them both and I have always been very competitive; in terms of pace if not maybe results. I’ve gone very well at the Nurburgring before, just never won. A couple of times I’ve had to stop while leading the race which always sends you home with a bad feeling. Hopefully I can finally get everything right this time. Last year we made the top three in Hockenheim, so let’s wait and see how it goes at the Nurburgring for the first time with this team. It’s pretty good circuit, but probably not as much fun as the old one. It should suit us, but the fact is you need a really good car to be competitive there. Most of all you need good traction out of the corners and a stable car under braking. We’re pretty reasonable in both these areas. We have had our issues with cooler weather and unfortunately it’s not usually that warm at the Nürburgring, but we’ll just see what we get and get on with it.”

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“The Nurburgring is quite a nice track with a quite a lot to it. There’s a really interesting mix of corners which means you have plenty to think about over the course of a lap; you’re certainly kept busy! The first section relies on mechanical grip and Turn 1 can be interesting at the start of the race if people go too deep into the corner. It can also be a good overtaking opportunity during the race too. After that there are some higher speed corners down to the hairpin - which is another good place you can overtake - then nice high speed stuff for the rest of the lap. You need a well-balanced car so I think we should go pretty well. This will be my first time racing there in Formula 1, but I’ve raced at the track previously in F3 and the GP2 Series. Last time I raced there - 2011 in the GP2 Series - I scored a podium and a win so my most recent memories of the circuit are certainly good.”

Eric Boullier
“There’s nothing about the Nurburgring to cause us any concern so we should be in the hunt again in Germany. We brought plenty of upgrades to Silverstone and we have a lot of data from the weekend so there should be some more pace to extract there. Another positive for the team to take from Silverstone was that all our race pit stops were completed in 2.5 seconds or under. It’s great to see the hard work in this area making improvements, so a big thanks to the pit stop crew - who practice their stops so many times both at the track and at the factory - as well as the design and manufacturing departments for all the equipment and relevant car parts too.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“The Nurburgring is a good track and one that the drivers really seem to enjoy as it has a real mix of everything. The opening sector is really quite technical, with good traction and a strong front end needed for some of the longer radius low speed turns. Then of course there’s a couple of swooping, medium speed downhill turns towards the hairpin, followed by the high speed kink which - despite the gradient - is taken flat out in 6th or even 7th gear at around 280kph and really pushes the drivers. Next, you have a couple of medium / high speed corners leading onto the long back straight, followed by a tight chicane and the last corner, where a good front end is again required to counter the understeer inducing nature of the turn. In terms of chassis setup there’s a little bit of everything required; good change of direction for the medium speed corners, decent traction and front end for the tricky first sector and good top end speed for the long straights. Having only just been to Silverstone there won’t be anything major (in terms of upgrades), as the crew will be driving straight down to Germany to rebuild the cars without stopping at the factory. That said, we still have a new wing which we haven’t used yet and we still have to try various permutations of the latest upgrades on both cars. If it’s good weather and everything goes to plan, we could unlock quite a bit of speed this weekend.”

Jules Bianchi, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“It’s hard to believe that we are almost at the middle of the season. The races are really starting to come quickly, so it is especially important that we stay focused now, as in Silverstone we didn’t achieve our objective of staying ahead of the Caterham and we have to turn that situation around again. We need to give ourselves a better chance for the race by having a stronger preparation on Friday and Saturday, to leave us in the best position. I have raced at the Nurburgring on a few occasions previously in the junior formulae - the last time in 2011. I’m looking forward to returning there.”

Max Chilton, Marussia
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I really enjoyed the experience of my first home Grand Prix and would like to thank the fans for their fantastic support. Such is the pace of F1 though we are already heading into our next race weekend, this time in Germany. With just a few days between races, I’ve spent those training before heading out on Wednesday. I’ve also caught up with my engineers on what we learned from the race and we’ll continue that process over the next couple of days as we need to give ourselves the best possible run-up to the weekend. Qualifying is an area we particularly need to improve on, so that’s the first objective. I’m very pleased with my record of finishes – eight in eight races – so naturally I’m keen to keep that going.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Our home race at Silverstone provided a further reminder of how hard we have to keep working to achieve our goals for the season. We are very satisfied with our current level of reliability; we’ve brought two cars home in seven out of eight races. Now we have to work to extract every ounce of performance from the package. Last weekend we demonstrated that a particular area of focus for us is qualifying, and we’ve spent the past couple of days taking a good look at all the data collected to see how we can improve. This has been an interesting turnaround for the race team, with our cars and equipment heading straight from Silverstone to Germany on Sunday evening. Nonetheless, everything is in place logistically and now our thoughts turn to the progress we can make on the racetrack this weekend.”

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 4th

“(The Nurburgring is) one of the longer tracks, and one I know very well from when I was racing in the junior series in Formula BMW and Formula 3. I’ve always had a lot of fun on this track. In 2009, I made it to the podium for the first time in Formula One, when we got a one-two, and it was a fantastic experience thanks to the German fans. The best part of the track? Driving out of the Mercedes-Arena and into the Mullenbach loop is good, then down towards the Dunlop hairpin, you have to put it in third or fourth gear there. Then onto the Schumacher-S into the Warsteiner bend and back down towards the ADVAN arch. If you are (a fan) looking for action, you should go for sections where overtaking is possible, so at the first corner. The fast corners are exciting as well: the Mullenbach loop, the Michael-Schumacher-S, and the section following the ADVAN arch, shortly before the chicane."

Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 3rd

"My best memory from the Nurburgring, and one of the best of my whole career, has got to be my first Formula One win there in 2009. It was such a special day and to win it in the style that we did that day was incredible. I prefer the Nurburgring to Hockenheim; it’s got a bit of character about it, with some old school camber changes and old kerbs. The best part is Turns 5 and 6, the fast left which goes into the tight right."

Jenson Button, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 7th, 2011 Race - DNF

“Of course, the Silverstone result wasn’t where we want to be, but there were some reasons to be encouraged by last weekend. Our car is now better balanced and more driveable, so we’re hoping for a rain-free practice day in order to further develop the set-up during Friday’s two free practice sessions. The Nurburgring is a track that seems to encourage close racing and plenty of overtaking. The combination of low- and medium-speed corners tend to allow cars to run quite closely, and there are a couple of big braking zones, where it’s quite easy to get alongside and steal the inside line. However, it’s got some nicely designed sections, which mean – equally – that you can lose out on the entry and yet still regain position if you have better traction and track position on the exit.”

Sergio Perez, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I’ve already put the disappointment of Silverstone behind me. In fact, I was more encouraged by the positives: I demonstrated strong pace all weekend, was having a good race and looked set to finish in the points, until my tyre failure in the closing laps. Naturally, these setbacks happen in motor racing, so it’ll be good to get back in the car just a few days after Silverstone and get back to business. I started my single-seater career in Germany, so it’s a place with lots of positive memories for me. I enjoy racing at the Nurburgring, it’s a place where you need to attack to get the best from the lap, so I think it’s well suited to my style. Of course, I’d have loved to have raced on the old track, the Nordschleife, that must have been an incredible place for a grand prix, but I’ll be happy with a positive result on the new circuit.”

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“After a difficult weekend at Silverstone, it’s a motivation for the whole team to return to the track just a week later for the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. It’s a very difficult technical challenge to the flat-out sweeps of Silverstone, requiring a higher downforce set-up to get the most from the twisting infield sections and high-traction corner exits from which much of the laptime is derived. Our aim for Germany will be to get our cars into the points after two successive failures to finish inside the top 10. Despite those disappointments, both Jenson and Checo have driven faultlessly, and both are relentlessly positive and upbeat. They have been a strong unifying force for the team as we continue to address the issues we’ve encountered with this year’s MP4-28. With more, uninterrupted mileage, we will be better placed to add performance to the car, so we’ll be hoping for good weather and the opportunity to learn as much as we can.”

Pastor Maldonado, Williams
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2011 Race - 14th

“Although the Nurburgring layout has changed recently and lost some of its old character, it’s still a pretty fast and flowing track which I tend to like and offers some good overtaking opportunities. It’s one of the most technical circuits on the calendar and we have been working hard to improve our cars balance in slow, technical corners. Tyre degradation is likely to be high as well, but in the last couple of races we have shown that we can control this quite well so that should give us a boost. The weather is often cold and can change throughout the weekend which is a challenge for all teams, but variable conditions would suit us. I just missed out on a points finish at Silverstone and will be looking to go a step better in this race.”

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“The Nurburgring is a very challenging track as it has a broad mixture of corners which makes car set-up difficult. I really like the hi-speed sections in particular, especially the fast left and right corners leading to the back straight. The weather is often changeable so we will be preparing for the possibility of a wet weekend. I’ve always enjoyed driving in tricky conditions though and our car is currently performing better in the wet/damp conditions so I will be hoping that we do see some showers. With tyre management being so important, and teams not having raced here last season, we will be trying to get as much data from the practice sessions as possible to make sure that we are racing on Sunday with the optimum strategy. The team will be continuing our 600th race celebrations in Germany and we will be looking to score some points to give the people back at the factory an extra boost.”

Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
“Nurburgring is quite a technical track with lots of challenging corner sequences and camber changes. There can also be variable weather which adds another element into the mix, although we don’t see many safety cars, with only two being deployed in the last ten races. It is a slower speed circuit with a below average top speed and the average corner speed is similar to what we see in Barcelona. The circuit is about 600 metres above sea level so engine power is low and downforce is reduced. We’ll reach our 600th race as a team at the German Grand Prix and we will be looking to mark this milestone with a strong finish this weekend.”

Charles Pic, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“After quali in Silverstone Giedo, Cyril, Heikki and I went back to Leafield for a great staff and family event at the factory. They’d had a barbecue and then we took part in a Q&A session with everyone who’d gone and one of the questions I was asked was what’s my favourite track to race on. The answer is Nurburgring and I explained that I don’t really know why it’s my favourite, it’s just the feeling I have racing there – it’s very special! I won there in Formula Renault 3.5 and I was on the podium in GP2 so it has a lot of happy memories for me and there’s just something about getting a lap right there that feels very good.

“In terms of the atmosphere it’s a bit like Silverstone. It’s always very busy, the stands are full and when you come into the stadium section it’s a bit like racing into a football arena. The fans can see a lot of the track so they have a great view and they really know about motorsport. I’ve not raced in F1 there yet – last year we were at Hockenheim, but I’m sure it’ll be a great weekend.

“I think the track should also suit us quite well. We made some progress in Silverstone, in quali when I put together the best qualifying lap of my season so far and in the race where we had better pace than we’d had for a couple of races, and we added a few new parts to the car, mainly around the floor. We’ll have a couple more small updates for Germany and it’ll be good to continue the positive trend we’ve regained since last week in the UK. We have a bit of a gap after Germany before Hungary so it’ll be good to leave the Nurburgring after a positive race, having got ourselves back to the performance levels we’ve targeted for this season.”

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“Germany is going to be a great race, partly because the track is relatively near home for me so there will be a lot of Dutch support there, and because it’s a track I’ve always gone well at. Throughout my career I’ve won races there in all categories – I know that’s not going to happen this year but, as a rookie, when you go to a track you know really well it means you’re on it right from the first lap and that helps us maximise the time we have in every session, as long as the weather stays dry which it looks like it should!

“It’ll be the first time for me around the Nurburgring in an F1 car but I last raced there in a GP2 car back in 2011 so I know quite a lot of what to expect. Like Spa the weather can change very quickly so we have to pay very close attention to the forecasts and, even though the track is used a lot outside F1 weekends, the grip levels still improve quite a bit over the weekend so the long run work we’ll do on Friday will be very important for the race. The track itself is mostly made up of low to medium speed corners – apart from T5 there’s not a lot of really high speed stuff but despite that it’s still a very good track to drive on. You can build up a good rhythm and that’s one of the keys to a good lap.”

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

“I know the Nurburgring very well. Since 2005 I have driven numerous races in several categories there, and, as far as I can remember, I won a race in every category there. I like the Eifel, and the Nurburgring is another traditional track with a lot of changes in altitude and good combinations, which makes it a lot of fun to drive. Of course, the fans will play a big part and I am looking forward to taking to the track in front of a home crowd. Although this is my third season, I have never raced at the Nurburgring in a Formula One car, so this is a first for me. Overall, however, I know what to expect. I guess, everything will be a bit faster and I might perceive things a little different, but I know the track well and I am looking forward to a nice weekend.”

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a

"I used the days between the races in Silverstone and the Nurburgring to relax and do some good fitness training in order to recharge before the German GP. With back-to-back races there is less time to analyse the previous weekend and the focus changes pretty quickly, so you take the momentum and move on. On the other hand, back-to-back races are really nice, because you only have a couple of days until you are back in the car again. I have great memories of the Nurburgring. In 2009, I raced there for the first time in Formula Three, and had a podium with my former team mates Jules Bianchi and Valtteri Bottas. It’s a traditional track as the GP circuit is part of the famous Nordschleife and I enjoy it a lot. It’s interesting to drive there with the fast corners, and the weather can be a challenge too. It’s exciting to come to Germany and feel the racing atmosphere. There is not that much to do around the area, so it’s all about pure racing.”

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“The Nurburgring is one of the most technically challenging circuits for the drivers and engineers. There is a good mix of low, medium and high-speed corners with the added challenge of several sections requiring many set-up and driver compromises. There are also some off camber corners, which always make it harder to get the ideal set-up. Pirelli has selected the medium and soft compounds for our return to the Nurburgring. Located within the Eifel mountain range there is often a chance of poor weather which can often add another element to the mix. We take encouragement from our race pace in Silverstone, but it is clear we still have some work to do in order to qualify stronger. As we did in Silverstone our aim will be to add to our points tally.”

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
“The Nurburgring is a medium speed track with an average speed of around 190kph. The four long straights require good top end power and we will work carefully on the selection of the top gear ratios since seventh gear will be engaged four times a lap, a higher than average usage. This high speed is however balanced out by a mix of low speed corners, such as turns 1 and the chicane where the cars will run between 75 and 95kph. As a result the engine has to be driveable through the lower revs but also offer responsiveness and strong power. One other factor we particularly need to consider is the high altitude of the track. The circuit is set in the Eifel mountains, and has an average of around 700m, only marginally less than Interlagos. The quantity of oxygen in the air is therefore less and atmospheric pressure is also lower so the engines will be slightly less powerful than at sea level. There is one advantage however in that the demands on the engine are less severe, so we will tend to use an engine on the third race of its life. Track conditions can change a lot over the weekend at the Nurburgring. Even though the circuit is used frequently by other motorsport formulae over the year, the fact Formula 1 only visits once every two years means that grip is initially very low. As a result we will run less aggressive engine maps at the start of the event to allow the driver to be smoother on the throttle and fine tune towards a more aggressive mapping as the grip improves.”

More to follow.

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