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Great Britain preview quotes - Marussia, Williams, McLaren & more

02 Jul 2015

After the rolling mountains of Austria, the teams and drivers head for the more familiar territory of Silverstone for the 2015 Formula 1 British Grand Prix - a home race for several of those involved.

Marussia

Will Stevens

“Silverstone is without doubt the highlight of my debut season and I can’t wait to get the weekend started. It’s a busy one, for me and the team, but this is a real opportunity to reward the support of the great British fans, so I’m going to savour every minute.

“As a racing driver, you never need an extra incentive to do well in a Grand Prix, but you do get that at Silverstone as a British driver. It’s such a great and historic venue and the scene of some fantastic races in the past 65 years, you can’t help but feel that you’re racing somewhere really special. The sight of all those Union Jacks is fantastic and it does make an already fast and exhilarating lap even more enjoyable.”

Roberto Merhi

“It’s hard to believe we’re almost at the middle of my first season in Formula One, but I’m really pleased with how things are going. I feel like I’ve made some pretty big steps at every race and hopefully this weekend will be another good one for me and the whole team. It’s shaping up to be a very busy home race for us, with lots of partner activity and opportunities to meet the team’s home crowd.

“Silverstone is a great track and I love driving here. It’s really fast and flowing and pretty interesting from a technical point of view. We have some new developments for this weekend so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can bring in terms of our performance. I hope we will see both cars take the chequered flag on Sunday and have a fun time until then.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Being in our own backyard whilst doing what we love is a real treat for everyone in the team. This year we really are on home turf as our temporary headquarters is right next to the circuit entrance. It also makes a very pleasant change for most of the race team to be able to spend the weekend at home in their own beds.

“The circuit has a magnificent history, but the Silverstone of today has a fantastic festival atmosphere that we all enjoy. We know we can count on a very warm reception from the British fans, who have always been so supportive of our team and drivers. It looks like we can also count on some very warm weather, which is great news for everyone in the grandstands.

“It’s true that a home crowd always provides an extra boost, and to add to that we have a new bodywork package for this race, which is the product of a lot of hard work over the past few months to help develop our current car and ensure we continue to reduce the gap to the teams ahead. All in all, we’re looking forward to an exciting weekend and hopefully another Silverstone classic.”

Williams

Valtteri Bottas

“I always enjoy the race at Silverstone. This is normally the only chance some of the team from the factory get to see the car on track which is important. We do expect to be strong here, as the overall downforce has improved with the updates we took to Austria. After a podium for me last year and two podiums for the team in the last two races, I think we should be looking, once again, to take the fight to the cars around us in the championship.”

Felipe Massa

“Silverstone is a great circuit, with long high-speed corners which will suit the car’s characteristics. Heading to the team’s home race, we are looking to make it a hat trick of podiums, and spirits within the team are high right now. I hope we can give the home fans another positive result and we can continue the positive momentum from the last few weeks.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“Silverstone should be another circuit, like the last two, that suits the characteristics of our car. We have a car that is very strong in a straight line, aided by the Mercedes power unit and the low drag configuration that we tend to run. In addition the car is strong through the high-speed corners. Last year it was an exceptional circuit for us with Valtteri coming from near the back of the grid to second position. Our target is to replicate the result from last year and get our third consecutive podium of the season. One thing we must consider is the weather, as it can be changeable throughout the weekend and will be key in our operations. It’s always great to have a home grand prix and the team get a great reception from the passionate crowd which resonates well with all the guys. We hope we can put on a good performance for them.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso

“We go to Silverstone this week feeling optimistic after two good test days in Austria. We’ve been busy analysing all of the data which has been very useful to continue learning about our package and keep moving forward. It was very positive that we were able to pass the 100-lap mark on the second day, and we’re really motivated to keep pushing into the next couple of Grands Prix before the summer break.

“Silverstone is a very special race for the team, of course, and also a fantastic circuit to drive. It’s one of the fastest on the calendar, which also means it won’t be a circuit that will suit our car so well, but we’re still looking forward to the weekend and want to make the most of every session. The crash I had with Kimi in Austria was really unlucky, but we quickly put that behind us during testing and know that we’ll have some great support from the fans at the team’s home race.

“I love driving the Silverstone circuit; I’ve won there twice, in 2006 and 2011, so I have very good memories, and it’s a really exciting track for the drivers with the mix of high-speed and medium-speed corners. Plus, the unpredictable weather always provides an interesting gamble. We know this weekend will be challenging, but we’ll be pushing hard every session to put on the best show we can for the fans.”

Jenson Button

“It feels great to be heading back to Silverstone - a place I love going to every year - and it’s a real privilege to be able to race in front of my home fans. No matter what happens during a race weekend, the fan support always makes the whole event extra special: even though this will be my 16th outing at the British Grand Prix, seeing the Union Jacks out in the grandstands and the roar of the crowd still gives me goose bumps every time - it really is a magical feeling. Seeing the fans decked out in pink last year in honour of my dad was incredibly moving and something I’ll never forget, too.

“It was great that Fernando and Stoffel were able to do some positive running in Austria during the test, so we’ve firmly put the disappointments of race day behind us and I’m really looking forward to arriving in Silverstone. We’re still struggling to achieve consistent reliability, so we’re working really hard to find solutions to the issues we’ve been facing. Saying that, having two trouble-free days of running at the test has been a great motivation, and we’re continuing to push for more progress in this area.

“Driving the Silverstone circuit is always immense fun for all the drivers, and it’s definitely one of my favourite racetracks. The combination of Maggotts-Becketts has legendary status for good reason, and it’s one of the most exhilarating corner combinations of any circuit on the Formula One calendar. I can’t wait to get out there on Friday and make the most of the incredible atmosphere at my home Grand Prix.”

Eric Boullier, Racing director

“Being a British team, returning to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix is always a great occasion for the whole team. For McLaren-Honda, it’s the first of two home Grands Prix for us this year, and we always enjoy incredible support and a completely unique atmosphere thanks to the huge British following. Although we aren’t where we want to be in terms of performance, we know the fans will be behind us, and I know I can speak for everyone in the team when I say it really does lift everyone and makes this weekend one of the really, truly, special ones of the year.

“The team worked very hard in Austria with the limited running we had due to the bad weather, and we’ve completed a solid and varied test programme to arm us with a lot of useful information. During the test we evaluated a number of different aero components, which so far have shown positive signs, so we’ll continue testing their effectiveness at Silverstone this weekend as we seek to continue improving our performance. Likewise, running without any major issues on both days was important.

“The circuit is a real driver’s track and there are a few good opportunities to overtake, but it means good stability at high speed is essential for a strong lap. Fast circuits with long corners such as Silverstone don’t play to the strengths of our package, but we know the atmosphere will be electric and we will keep pushing for further improvements at every opportunity. Everyone at McLaren-Honda is looking forward to the weekend and we know the loyal and passionate support of the fans won’t let us down.”

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"In Spielberg, Fernando was involved in an accident on the first lap of the race, and Jenson had a sensor failure issue. As a result, both cars were forced to retire. We have since completed thorough checks of both power units back at the factory, and we believe that Fernando's power unit has sustained damage from the accident, and it may be necessary to change the engine. As for Jenson's power unit this weekend, the issue is still under investigation.

"Honda is not looking to put any hardware updates in place for the British Grand Prix, but we will optimise the power unit setting to the updated aero parts planned on the chassis. Silverstone is a classic technical high-speed circuit where the tyre degradation is high and it is tough on fuel.”

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

“I don't feel like I ever really reached my peak in Austria. It wasn't the smoothest of weekends for me - so to come away with P2 wasn't a disaster in the circumstances. Silverstone, though... that's different. I can't describe the feeling I had last year - lifting that trophy again in front of the sea of fans on pit straight after so many years and after a tough start to the weekend too. It's something that will always stay with me and nothing less than the same again will do. I'm lucky enough to have fans all around the world - but winning in front of your home crowd is something else. We have a fantastic car this year - even better than in 2014 - and it should suit this track, so I'll be going all out to make the most of it. The guys back at the factories deserve to see a big home result and I want to see Silverstone absolutely rocking at the chequered flag!”

Nico Rosberg

“My week in Austria could not have come together much better. Apart from the mistake in quali, I felt right on top of things from the start and it was great to get another win. With the extra day in the car on Wednesday also, helping the team prepare for Silverstone, I feel ready to go full attack at a circuit I really enjoy. It should suit our car nicely with the focus on downforce and we learned some useful things during the test, so I'm sure we'll be strong once again. The crowds are really incredible at this race and it's always a great atmosphere. Of course, I know they have their favourite! But hopefully we can have a good fight and keep the fans on their feet - especially the guys from our factories who have built such an unbelievable machine! It's great that they have a chance to come and see it in action, so this weekend is all about giving them a great reward.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“Austria was a great event from many perspectives. We saw performance from the car which exceeded expectations, a flawless weekend in the garage and on the pit wall, plus strong races from both drivers. We are operating at a very high level right now and the aim is to replicate this at every race. We must stay on our toes, as the margins for success will only become smaller and any small slip will be jumped on by our opponents. The next race at Silverstone, with high demands on power and aero, should suit our car well. Hopefully this is the case and we can produce a top result at the home Grand Prix for Brackley and Brixworth. Both groups will have the opportunity to watch some of Friday practice live at the circuit and I'm sure will take pride in seeing the product of their hard work on the track - deservedly so. Between them and the fans, we have a duty to deliver a great show. Our two drivers both have strong records here and it's a home race for Lewis also. We have all the ingredients for a really spectacular weekend of racing.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“After a successful week in Austria with a 1-2 finish on the Sunday and a productive test the following week, we come to Silverstone - one of our home Grands Prix. This circuit is, of course, very close to our factories in Brackley and Brixworth - providing a great opportunity for everyone to see the fruits of their labour in action. So, we'll very much be hoping to put on a good performance for them and the fantastic British crowds. As a circuit, Silverstone has several quite different characteristics to those we've visited recently. It's a track that is a good test of aerodynamics, rewards good downforce and is not at all demanding on the brakes - so a stark contrast to Canada and Austria in particular. In theory this should play to the strengths of the W06 - but of course we take nothing for granted. We've been preparing thoroughly for this race as always, with a few aerodynamic updates set to feature and a few things to be brought forward from the Austria test. It's a big weekend for Lewis in front of his home crowd and also a venue where Nico has been very strong in the past, so fingers crossed we can put on a good show for the fans.”

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz

“Silverstone is one of the Grands Prix circuits I’ve most been looking forward to this season. It’s always been my favourite track. I have driven the track with both the Infiniti Red Bull Racing and the Scuderia Toro Rosso car, in occasion of the in-season test in 2013. I have also scored many wins there in Formula Renault and taken pole positions, as well as being quite quick in Formula BMW and Formula 3. It should be one of the nicest tracks to drive in a Formula 1 car with its high speed layout. It’s also an important Grand Prix for me, as I have a home in London. It’s going to be an enjoyable weekend.”

Max Verstappen

“I’ve driven there in Formula 3 and one day of a Renault test, so not that much track time, but a bit more than at some other tracks. It’s not an easy track to understand at first, but I found that I improved a lot over the course of a weekend racing there. Hopefully, this weekend I can start again where I left off and improve some more. Becketts and Maggots are very important in terms of gaining lap time and it’s very important at this circuit to get into a good flowing rhythm. It’s high speed, which in terms of the corners will suit our car, although the long straights might see us struggle a little bit. It’s a great track, so I am really looking forward to the race there. The weather can be a bit strange and the crosswinds can make it really challenging, sometimes requiring completely different set-up from one session to the next."

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson

"The British Grand Prix is for me one of the highlights of the season. A historical track with some great corner combinations. Also the atmosphere there is unique, with loyal, dedicated and enthusiastic British Formula One fans. I love to drive there, Silverstone is one of my favorite tracks. I believe it will be a challenging weekend for us, but I am convinced that we will make the best of it."

Felipe Nasr

"Silverstone is a circuit which I enjoy driving on. It is not only one of my favorite tracks, but for me also kind of a home race, because I have been living in England for five years now. Therefore, it is always nice to come back to where motorsport and its great fans are at home. The British Grand Prix will probably not be an easy weekend, as this high speed track requires a lot of downforce."

Raffaele Marciello, test and reserve driver

"I am looking forward to another FP1 session. In genereal I like fast tracks; Silverstone is one of my favorites. The Becketts section particularly is always a challenge. I am pleased to again be driving the Sauber C34-Ferrari. It is the third time I will be driving the car in FP1 – after Malaysia and Spain. Together with my GP2 duties, I am looking forward to another busy race weekend."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering

"With its technical demand, historical heritage, and passionate crowds Silverstone is one of the landmark circuits where we race Formula One cars. The engineers' challenge will be to balance the high-speed requirements of the older part of the circuit with the traction and ride demand of the newer section. The drivers will chase stability to get the confidence they need, while negotiating fascinating sections at serious speed such as Copse, Becketts, Stowe or riding the bump at Abbey. Due to the abrasive nature of the circuit, Pirelli will supply the hard and medium compound. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the Sauber C34-Ferrari, we might expect not to have an easy weekend there, yet we feel ready for the challenge and keep targeting scoring points."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

"I'm really looking forward to Silverstone – the team's home race. We go there with a lot of momentum following the strong performance in Austria where we really maximised everything. The circuit suited us, of course, but the field was really close and it was up to us to get a good result, which we did. Finishing sixth was probably the maximum we could get from the race and to come away with a good bunch of points was very satisfying. I am really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the upgraded VJM08 at Silverstone, which will give us the first impression of what we can expect in the second half of the season. 

"Silverstone is one of the best races on the calendar. The fans are great and it's hard to find an empty seat anywhere. The atmosphere is buzzing and that always gives me an extra boost. I usually go to the campsites to see the fans and it's great to see everybody having such a good time. Because it's our home race, I also get to spend more time at the factory with the team members who don't usually go to races. As a circuit, Silverstone gives you a great feeling when you're driving, especially in the fast corners: to get a good lap together on such a difficult track is an amazing feeling."

Sergio Perez

"The last two races have been a bit difficult for me, but we still managed to come away with points in Austria and it was a great performance by the team. With the arrival of our upgrade package in Silverstone, it's going to be an important and busy weekend for the team as we try to get all the new parts working together.

"I really like the Silverstone track, with its fast and flowing corners, which are great fun to drive. There is a lot of history and you feel there is something special from the moment you arrive at the circuit. I always performed well there in the early part of my career and I would love to pick up some points this weekend.

"Having our factory next to the circuit makes this a special race for the team. It's a busy one too with lots going on with all our partners and events for the staff. I used to live close to the track - in Oxford – when I was racing in Formula Three, so this used to be my home race for a while and I still have a lot of friends in the area, which makes the week very enjoyable."

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal

"We come to Silverstone off the back of two strong results in Canada and Austria, two races that have been a big boost for everyone in the team. As we approach the mid-season point, being fifth in the championship is an tremendous achievement, especially when you take into consideration our start to the season. It's a reward for the hard work by everyone in the team, both at the factory and trackside.

"Our recent results are an excellent platform to build on for the second part of the season, with our eagerly-awaited upgrade package making its debut in Silverstone. Everyone is full of anticipation, but we know it will be a very steep learning curve to fully understand and get on top of the changes in just a few free practice sessions. However, I remain optimistic we will see progress sooner rather than later.

"Both Nico and Checo have been performing admirably so far this year and they have seized every opportunity to score points. I have always had the utmost confidence in our driver pairing and I think this season has shown, once again, that we have one of the most competitive line-ups in Formula One.

"Silverstone is a special place for us. It's our local race, with our headquarters just across the road giving a chance for all our factory staff to be close to the action. It is also a great race thanks to the atmosphere in the grandstands: the fans in Britain have an incredible passion for motorsport and they always turn up to create an amazing event."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

"Silverstone is always a fantastic occasion, with an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic fan base of British spectators. It's one of the few circuits where the drivers say that they can actually hear the crowd as they are driving along. As was the case last year, we're bringing our two hardest tyres in the range, because Silverstone gives us the highest lateral energy loads of the season. These place heavy demands on both the tyre compound and structure. So we should be seeing between one and two pit stops at Silverstone, especially if the weather is warm, which is expected to be the case. Having said that, warm weather has been the forecast for a number of years previously – and we've still often ended up with a dose of more traditional British weather instead! So the teams will have to be prepared for everything and think about how to get the maximum out of their tyres during the weekend as a whole, rather than just session-by-session. Silverstone is one of those circuits that really rewards absolute bravery and commitment, so we should be in for a great race."

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

"I can't hide it! Silverstone's awesome. I love high-speed circuits with high-speed corners – and so the run from Copse through Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel and then around Stowe... maybe the five coolest corners on the calendar and to have them coming at you one after the other. Yeah, I love it. It's definitely a circuit where, the faster the car, the better the experience – though that's usually the case with highspeed tracks. I mean, Silverstone's great in a Formula Renault 2.0. In an F1 car? Epic. 

"The thing about Silverstone is that it's packed from Thursday onwards. If we have one of those nice, hot blue-sky sunny weekends then the atmosphere's amazing. If it's grey, wet and windy then the atmosphere's still amazing. I'm not sure how that's possible – but Silverstone manages it. As for driving in those conditions, it's still exciting – but in a very different way!"

Daniil Kvyat

"It's the first time for me racing for the team at its home grand prix in the UK and I'm definitely looking forward to it. It's a chance for everyone from the factory to stay really close to the race team at a grand prix and that should give it a great atmosphere. It's good for the team I think. Silverstone is a real classic. It's a cool circuit: high speeds, incredibly challenging layout, I really enjoy it. If you get everything right with the car and your confidence is high then it brings you a lot of joy. The high-speed corners are what it's all about - Maggots-Becketts and Copse. It starts with Copse and ends with Maggots-Becketts. That whole section is all done in one breath, the speed is really good and you really find your limits there. That's where you really feel like you are driving a Formula One car, really pushing hard."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean

"It's a fantastic track with a lot of high speed corners. I won there in the GP2 Series in 2011, so I have to say it has fond memories for me. I scored points there in my F1 debut but then for the last couple of years my British Grand Prix hasn't been so good in terms of results. This means I must be due a good result and we'll be doing everything we can to ensure a good finish in the points!

"Silverstone is challenging, but it has a really good feeling to it. It's one of the quickest tracks of the year and as drivers we always like to go fast! There are corners which are legendary like the Magotts, Becketts, Chapel complex. It's quite a feeling going through there and I can't wait to feel that sensation once more. The whole layout has a really good, fast flow to it and you can really feel your car working hard with the downforce through the fast flowing corners. It's a happy place to be. It's also a special Grand Prix for the team as the factory is very close to the track. It's always nice to see not only the race team, but also some of the many people from the factory come to see us out in action. It's thanks to all their hard work that we're out on track and they are all doing an amazing job, always working so hard. It really does have a feeling of a home event.

"Over the years there's been quite a bit of wet weather for the British Grand Prix, and this was not so much of a surprise to the Englishmen I've spoken to! I have lived quite near to the track so my experience of regularly visiting Enstone means that I know the weather can change quite a lot. An English summer's day is wonderful, but sometimes you have to look hard to find one! That said, it's looked pretty good so far this year and there is even talk of something of a heatwave coming to Britain. It's fantastic to be at Silverstone when the weather is good and the fans are all out so let's hope that happens."

Pastor Maldonado

"I think that Silverstone is an amazing track. It has a great history, it's fast and the change to the most recent layout hasn't really changed the nature of the track too much. It's always a special place to visit and you know that you're always there for the racing as it's not on the doorstep of a big city. I have always enjoyed racing at Silverstone since my first visit back in 2007. I also have good memories of it as I have had some great races there, including winning in both 2009 and 2010 in the GP2 Series.

"I've spent so much time in England that it's like a second home to me, especially as I have family who live very close to the circuit in Oxfordshire. It's a great event coming mid-season and it always provides an interesting race. It's always a very special event for the teams based nearby and the support all drivers get there is amazing with some of the most knowledgeable fans in the world. I'm looking forward to racing just down the road from the Lotus F1 Team factory and seeing many familiar faces over the weekend."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"The Great British Grand Prix really is a fantastic event and one which everyone enjoys visiting. For so many people in motorsport Silverstone is like a home from home and has been part of so many of our histories. It's a great circuit which gives drivers and engineers something to think about and the crowd's enthusiasm and knowledge is legendary; we can't wait for the event to start. I think we can do well. We keep showing the pace of the E23 at different tracks and both Romain and Pastor are doing a superb job. Our race weekends are running quite smoothly, and we will arrive off the back of a positive test in Austria. This year we are arriving at each venue very positive of a decent result and Silverstone is no different."

Nick Chester, Technical Director

"Psychologically, the entire team like Silverstone. Having a home Grand Prix on your doorstep is very motivating. Silverstone represents a good challenge. The circuit has a lot of high speed corners and also some good low and medium speed corners, a real nice mix. It also presents reasonable straights meaning that there is a power sensitivity to Silverstone as well. It's a real challenge with the different characteristics of corners and to get the car to work well in all of them. In terms of parts, we tested a few small updates in Spielberg that we'll be taking to Silverstone."