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Germany preview quotes - McLaren, Haas, Pirelli, Manor & more

27 Jul 2016

The 12th round of the season takes the teams and drivers to the challenging Hockenheim circuit and the Formula 1 Grosser Preis von Deutschland 2016. Those involved look ahead to the action…
Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

“Getting that win in Hungary after a less than straightforward weekend was a great feeling. If I can come out on top when things aren’t quite perfect, that can only be a good thing. Now it’s off to Germany and another one of the team’s home races after Silverstone. It’s great to be going back there. My last win in Hockenheim came way back in 2008, which seems like a lifetime ago, but I’ve got some great memories from the circuit and the country itself. I raced there a lot when in my early career in the junior racing formulae and, of course, I’ve been part of the Mercedes-Benz family since way back when. It would be great to get another win there for all our Mercedes employees and for the team, too, before the summer break. The last few races have been good for me, so if I can continue that form into this weekend I’ll be in good shape.”

Nico Rosberg

“It was disappointing to lose the race at the first corner in Hungary. But I was really happy with my pace all weekend, so that gives me good confidence moving forwards. I’m happy to have the chance to get back in the car again so soon – and especially happy that it’s at my second home race. I had a fantastic day at Hockenheim a few weeks ago driving Mika Häkkinen’s Championship-winning car. That really gave me a massive buzz to be back racing in Germany. Driving in through the circuit gates brought back so many great memories – from my childhood days at the DTM with my Dad right through to winning the Grand Prix for myself in 2014. Hopefully I can repeat that this year for the fans and for everybody at Mercedes. After this race it’s a well-earned break for the team, too. I’ll be pushing flat out to give them the result they deserve before they get some time to recharge their batteries.”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“To get such a result in Hungary, which is not a track that has traditionally suited us, shows how far we have progressed. That is the most satisfying outcome and a big positive for the rest of the season. We are in a strong position as we move past the halfway point, with two drivers performing at a high level and a competitive combination of chassis and engine underneath them. Their battle shows no signs of dropping in intensity, and we can expect plenty of entertainment as the races and points count down. Next, we have our home race in Hockenheim. It’s no secret that this is a big weekend for us. We are just a small part of a large global organisation and we take great pride in representing the three-pointed star out on track. I’m sure our rivals would take great pleasure in beating us on our home turf, so the pressure is on. But we will do everything in our power to make Mercedes-Benz proud and head into the summer break on a high.”

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

“Hockenheim is a great circuit. With a good range of cornering speeds, it places a high demand on every aspect of car performance, so we hope our package will be strong there. We have the same tyre compounds available as in Hungary with the Medium, Soft and SuperSoft – but the track is quite a bit more aggressive than the Hungaroring, so we will likely see a range of different strategy options emerging as potential candidates for the race. It’s great to go back to Germany after not having raced there in 2015 – which was a huge omission from the calendar. It’s also a fantastic opportunity for our colleagues from Stuttgart to see their Silver Arrows close up – and a fantastic privilege for us to represent the 280,000 Daimler employees worldwide at this home event for the company. Of course, that brings with it a lot of pressure – but we’ll go out there and do our best to deliver a top result. It’s a great venue for spectators, with the stadium section providing fantastic views of the final sector. After an emphatic win for Nico and a superb recovery drive for Lewis back in 2014, we’ll be hoping to bring even more excitement and success this time around.”

Renault

Kevin Magnussen

“[Hockenheim is] a great track and the atmosphere there is always awesome. Turn one is very fast and it’s a great way to start what is always an exciting first lap. It’s difficult; you can gain or lose a lot of positions there depending on whether you have a good or bad exit. Do it well and you’ll make up a lot of places down to the next corner. Mess it up and it will be the exact opposite. There’s good overtaking opportunities down the long straight as well and a massive braking zone, perhaps the biggest one in Formula 1. It’s similar to China in that way. Then the final sector where the circuit goes from being quite wide to being a really old school narrow track and there is a very banked corner, which always makes it quite cool to drive.”

Jolyon Palmer

“[Hockenheim is] a circuit I haven’t raced at so much, as I’ve raced there only for two weekends previously. The two big features that stand out are the very long straight and the stadium section. Despite the changes to it over the years, it still has a really old-school feel to it, especially the arena section, which is very narrow and how close the fans can be there as well. It has a really nice flow, especially the second half of the lap, and a lot of slow and medium speed corners, which I quite like. There are a lot of passionate fans who come from all over the country and they really know how to enjoy the weekend. The campsites can be quite something to behold. It’s the last race before the August break so I may well treat myself to a nice German beer on the Sunday night.”

Fred Vasseur, team principal

“We saw extra pace in our car in Hungary so we now need to translate that to the points potential we had last weekend. I know how hard everyone has been working so I cannot say I am surprised when we show progress. Equally, we know that some tracks, some conditions will suit some cars better than others so we’re not jumping for joy that we’ve found a magic bullet. We could arrive at Hockenheim and find our rivals are doing a better job; we’re doing everything in our power to ensure we deliver as best we can but this is a highly competitive environment with grid positions separated by tiny fractions of a second. From our side, we all have our heads down trying to find every bit of performance for this year and beyond.”

Nick Chester, technical director

“[Hockenheim] is a combination of low and high speed corners but also with some decent straights. The low and medium speed stadium section is key to a good lap time. The downforce levels are more familiar than the extra high levels of downforce we used in Hungary. We’ll be working on trying to generate grip in the low speed corners. To do this we look at the mechanical and aero sides of the car. Mechanically it’s about how you balance the car, how you proportion the stiffness in front and rear suspension and how you set it up to get a good mixture of the car being stable and having enough front end for the low speed corners.  Aerodynamically it’s about adding downforce to the car which works in the low speed corners where the car has higher ride heights. We are going to have a few new parts to try which should give us some benefit too. The outlook is fairly similar to a lot of other places. The requirements are not hugely specific and the most similar requirements from a recent circuit would be Austria. We expect a fairly similar outlook to there, plus the added performance we’ve managed to unlock from the car.” 

McLaren

Fernando Alonso

“I’m pleased to be heading back to Hockenheim after we missed a race in Germany in 2015. It’s been a good circuit for me in the past - I’ve had three victories on this circuit, and five in Germany, so there’s lots of happy memories. There’s usually a good atmosphere there and there’s something special about the feeling of it being the last race before the summer break - everyone is upbeat and pushing hard because they want to finish the first half of the season on a high.

“The weather is always a factor in Germany - this time of year tends to be hot, but you can never be 100 percent sure, so even a little bit of rain could mix things up a bit, which might help us. We know it’ll be a tough race, but after Hungary - even though the characteristics are very different - I’m pleased with the progress we’re making and I’m definitely up for the challenge.

“Hockenheim is quite a technical circuit which requires fairly high downforce, and although most of the corners are relatively low-speed, they come after long, power-hungry straights, so the set-up of both the power unit and chassis for both eventualities can be quite tricky. For this kind of circuit, you need a car with which you can push, and I feel we’re making improvements in that area.

“For sure it will be different to Hungary - we can’t expect to be the number four team there, and our midfield rivals will be stronger, but we’ll try to maximise everything we have in our armoury and give it our best shot. The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the first half of the year, so it’ll be great to be able to have some luck and bring both cars home without any major issues.”

Jenson Button

“Last Sunday in Hungary was a big disappointment on my side of the garage - we showed a lot of promise throughout the weekend leading up to the race, but on Sunday it seemed that everything that could go wrong, did. Still, that’s part of racing and Fernando has had his share of bad luck over the past few races, so it was good he was able to get some points and maintain a good pace.

“I hope we can regain our form in Germany and enjoy a positive race for both cars before the summer break. After last weekend, the main thing we need to focus on is reliability. If we have that, it at least puts us in a position to see where we are on track and be in the hunt for points. Hopefully the weekend will throw up a surprise or two, and we can both have a smooth weekend.

“Although Hockenheim has had two different configurations over the years, there’s a lot of history there and the fans love their racing. Our car is strong under heavy braking, but despite the long, sweeping corners and fast straights, this isn’t as much of a necessity there as in Hungary. We’re expecting it to be a tricky weekend as the best-placed cars are the ones with the highest straight-line speeds, but we’ll see what we can do. The MP4-31 is well balanced and has good traction out of the corners, so we might be able to make up some time around a lap.

“There are a couple of decent overtaking opportunities there, so you don’t just need to rely on DRS and a good slipstream on the straights, and it’s an enjoyable challenge. The asphalt is smooth which will hopefully rubber in nicely over the course of the weekend, as you need good grip to have any chance of making up ground. I remember the craziness of the old configuration - huge straights and fiddly chicanes, which made set-up a tricky compromise - and this layout is very different, but you can see they’ve designed it to promote close racing.”

Eric Boullier, Racing Director

“After a long and gruelling first half of the season, culminating in six races in seven weeks, the whole team is preparing for the final push at the German Grand Prix before a well-deserved summer break. Despite the drama and poor luck Jenson suffered on Sunday at the Hungaroring, our pace as demonstrated by Fernando was encouraging. Although not as a high a finishing position as last year, we showed form and consistency throughout the weekend, and in a race of very low attrition except Jenson’s unfortunate retirement, we were able to maintain our position on merit and keep our nearest midfield rivals firmly behind us.

“Now, we head to Hockenheim, which certainly offers a very different challenge to test our package. We are under no illusions that we’ll enjoy the same levels of pace that Fernando could exploit in Hungary, but nevertheless we’ll strive to set-up our package to enable our strengths to shine and outweigh the more difficult elements. With the support of the 50,000 plus fans in the stadium section alone, and our usual grit and hard work, we’ll do everything we can to finish the twelfth race of this 21-race season on a positive note.

“I’d also like to thank all our team members in Woking, Milton Keynes and Sakura for their admirable stamina, unwavering determination and unflappable perseverance throughout the first half the season. We’ll be giving it our all over the weekend to maximise our chances and give both cars the best opportunity to push for points. Both our drivers have a lot of experience fighting on this circuit, too - and have both enjoyed victory there - so they’ll certainly be taking the battle to the track this weekend in the hope of sharing some of the spoils on offer at this most historic of venues.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

"Though Hockenheimring is another power-oriented circuit, McLaren-Honda has continued to show progress and strength through every race of the European leg, and we believe that we can once again perform to the best of our abilities at the German GP this weekend.

"As a team, this will be our first race at this track so it will be a busy weekend to fine-tune and set up both the power unit and the chassis. It will also be important for us to fix any reliability issues that we have had over the past race weekends, and face the last race before the F1 summer shutdown with a positive outlook.

"Hopefully, we can repeat the good points finish that we had in Hungaroring with Fernando’s car and score more championship points before the second half of the season."

Haas

Romain Grosjean

“I’d like us to go into the break with a strong final race. It’s always good to get a morale boost before the shutdown. Everyone can reflect on what we’ve done and what we can do better. It’s important for everyone to get a rest. It’s a long season and we’re only just over halfway through at the break. The big flyaway races come after that. We’ve had an amazing first half of the season and I’m sure we can do more in the second half. For that, we really need to keep working, keep our focus and take some rest whenever we can.

“Hockenheim is definitely a lot about straight-line speed, braking and traction out of the corners. When you get good traction through the low-speed corners, you have a much better straight-line speed. You’ve got the stadium part, which is very narrow as well. It’s a good balance between having top speeds and fuel efficiency, and traction and braking being suitable.

“It’s always great to visit somewhere with good memories. I won at the circuit in Formula Three, and in Formula Renault 1.6. I won there in the GP2 Series until a post-race penalty dropped me to second. Every year is different though. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. The important thing is to make it count now.

“The entry into the stadium section is definitely my favourite part of the Hockenheimring. It’s amazing. You’re coming in from really fast corners, then you just turn into a very narrow section of the track. It’s fun.”

Esteban Gutierrez

“It’s one of my favourite tracks. It’s one of the first I drove in Europe when I came to race Formula BMW in 2008. It’s a pretty special place for me. There are some corners that I really love about it - definitely the entry to the stadium. It’s a very high-speed corner, and you enter with a lot of speed and no margin of mistake. You have the gravel straight away and then you have a very narrow track, and it arrives into the banked corner, which is really interesting.

“I want the team to be going into the summer break in good shape with a positive race at Hockenheim. I feel it will be an important occasion for every team member to also recharge their batteries because it has been quite a nonstop season for us right from the beginning. It will be an important break. Everyone can come back strong and we can continue our way through the season.”

Guenther Steiner, team principal

“We would like to go into the summer shutdown one position higher than we are now in the championship. I think it’s always good that the last race, whether it’s before the summer shutdown or the next season, that you end up on a bit of a high, because then everybody relaxes and nobody is too worried. If we can get out of Germany with a few points, that would be fantastic for everybody.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“Hockenheim will be a bit of an unknown quantity: we’ve not raced there for two years, and even before then it was a race that alternated with the Nurburgring, so everybody is lacking historical data compared to other venues we visit. The cars are obviously going a lot quicker than they were in 2014, which is why we have introduced a tyre nomination that is a step harder compared to last time. The most notable feature of that 2014 race was the variable weather: on race day track temperatures were 20 degrees cooler than they had been on the very hot qualifying day. With the German Grand Prix taking place at the same time of year again, there is obviously the potential for similar variation.”

Manor

Pascal Wehrlein

“It’s my home Grand Prix - the one I’ve been most looking forward to. It will also be the busiest so far for me, so maybe after that a little break will be nice. I intend to enjoy it. Of course Germany will have a special significance as the first home race of my F1 career. First of many, I hope! Knowing a race track does have its advantages but, really, we push just as hard at every track we race at.”

Dave Ryan, racing director

“Germany is Pascal’s home race and that of our powertrain partner Mercedes HPP, so naturally we’ll be keen to deliver the best possible performance in front of the ‘family’.”

Williams

Valtteri Bottas

“Last time we were in Germany was in 2014 and I was second place in the race, one of my best F1 results. It’s a track I’ve driven a lot when I was in the junior categories like Formula Renault and Formula 3, so I know the place really well. It’s nice to go back to Germany after a bit of a break, and hopefully we’ll have another warm welcome.”

Felipe Massa

“It will be nice to return to the German Grand Prix after we didn’t have it last year. We’re heading to Hockenheim, a track I really enjoy driving. I hope we have a good race because the Hockenheimring could be a great track for our car. We’ll see at the weekend.”

Pat Symonds, chief technical officer

“It’s good to be going back to Germany after a brief absence as it’s definitely a country we should be racing in, as well as being the home of our partner Mercedes-Benz. Two years ago we had mixed fortunes with Felipe eliminated in a spectacular first corner incident whilst Valtteri went on to claim second place. Our intention this year, as always, is to get a strong points finish from both cars and we are confident of doing so.”

Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat

“The last time I raced here in 2014, I qualified eighth which wasn't bad, but unfortunately I had to retire from the race with an ignition problem.

“It's an interesting track, starting with Turn 1 which is a very high-speed corner and can be quite tricky on the opening lap. The exit of Turn 3 is where you need really good traction, especially in the race and after Turn 4 you drive down the long curved straight – time for a beer and a sausage… it's so long!

“The hairpin at Turn 6 is a good place to try and overtake, but you have to keep an eye in your mirrors as it's also a good place to be overtaken! Another nice part of this circuit is Turn 12 - the stadium section, where you need to be brave to get it right. There's usually a great atmosphere here with a very noisy crowd.

“Turn 13 has positive camber and it's good to carry a lot of speed here while, in contrast, Turn 16 has negative camber. If I have to choose the corner I enjoy the most, that's Turn 12.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

“I think the Hockenheimring is actually a pretty fun track. I like entering the stadium section. Also the fans are huge motorsport fans, which is always pretty awesome. There are some cool little towns around the track which offer some traditional German food and after my week in Austria I can’t wait to enjoy my second round of Schnitzels.”


More to follow.