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Great Britain preview quotes - Manor, Renault, McLaren, Haas, Williams & more

07 Jul 2016

The ninth round of the season takes the teams and drivers to the high-speed Silverstone circuit for one of the fastest - and oldest - races on the calendar. Those involved in the 2016 Formula 1 British Grand Prix look ahead to the action…

Manor

Pascal Wehrlein

“[Another point this weekend] would be very nice but let’s be clear - this is a different race track and a different weekend. At the last Grand Prix we seemed to have improved a few things things that were holding us back. We didn’t suffer with tyre degradation as much as we have previously and our pace was strong - we were able to race for more than 40 laps on a single set of soft tyres, which is a measure of just how well we got the car working that weekend. That doesn’t automatically translate to the next circuit, or even the one after that, but if you can say you did everything right and got the maximum possible from the car we have, then that’s a good result.”

Rio Haryanto

“It will be a fantastic occasion; I can’t wait. There’s a real buzz about the team at the moment after the first point and that’s incredible to see and feel. It’s really important to me that we put on the best show possible this weekend for everybody who has worked so hard and contributed to that result in Austria.”

Dave Ryan, racing director

“It’s great to be home. The British Grand Prix is always a fantastic occasion in its own right, but especially for the teams who are based here. The Manor Technical Centre is only 15 miles from Silverstone, so it’s a rare opportunity for everyone who is normally based there to share in the race weekend experience. It means such a lot to them to see our cars and drivers perform right in front of them. I hope we can put on a great show for the wider team this weekend, but it’s important that I temper expectations. We have to keep our feet on the ground and recognise that another point is not a given. What I can promise, however, is that we’ll be doing our utmost to get the very best from the car and our drivers, just as we do at every event.

“The crowds here at Silverstone are among some of the most passionate and exuberant that we encounter. They want to see a British driver win the race, but they are equally supportive of the British teams, whatever their nationality of drivers. We know they will be cheering for Manor Racing and that makes a real difference - to the guys and girls in the team and to the drivers. It’s going to be a great weekend and we’re looking forward to it.”

Renault

Kevin Magnussen

“It’s one I look forward to. There’s a great atmosphere with all the fans who are always so enthusiastic for the race and you feel all the excitement when you drive in each morning. Unfortunately, there’s no Danish Grand Prix so I do look on this one as being almost a home Grand Prix for me. So many Formula One teams are based within an hour of Silverstone that many other teams and drivers look on it in a similar way so this does give it a special feeling.

“The high speed corners are great, particularly Maggotts and Becketts and you really feel like you’re driving a Formula One car the way it’s meant to be driven. It has a great flow to it and there’s usually a full crowd cheering you on. There are good opportunities to overtake and you never know what surprise the British weather might produce.

“I’ve raced there many times but in particular I had pole, fastest lap and the race win in British Formula Three in 2011 and then a podium and a win in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012 so those are good memories. I scored points there in Formula One in 2014 so to repeat that this season would make me and the team happy.

“We always head to a race wanting the best result possible. Austria showed that the car isn’t as bad as it has looked in the last few street races where it’s no secret that we struggled. The safety car timing didn’t help us and I wasn’t able to push at the end of that race but in general I think we’re quite well placed looking to Silverstone.”

Jolyon Palmer

“I can’t wait to race in front of my home crowd. I love the track and it’s always a special weekend at Silverstone. The crowd is huge and so passionate even if you’re not British but for a British driver it takes on an extra level.

“It’s certainly the Formula One track that I know the best so I’m hoping that gives me an extra boost along with all the home fan support. There are lots of high speed corners which I really like to drive and a lap has a really good flow to it. I had my first race at Silverstone when I was 15 so I know the place pretty well! I’ve been on the podium in every category I’ve raced in there and I’ve won there too. It’s certainly been a good track for me till now so I hope that continues. I’ve got great memories so far; I’m hoping to create the most memorable memory with a terrific drive into the points there in 2016!

“I’m always focused for any result! It’s true I’m feeling more and more confident from the last few races. I’ve been improving myself but also getting the car more as I want it. If we can find just a little bit more from the car then we can get into Q2 and from there you’re nearer to points potential in the race.”

Nick Chester, technical director

“We have a few small updates for the Grand Prix as it’s back-to-back with Austria which doesn’t leave much time. However there is more coming for the test, where we actually have time to evaluate things properly. Silverstone is a track we know very well and we will be working towards having a nice stable car in the high-speed corners, avoiding too much understeer - which can be tricky at Silverstone – and catering for some of the bumpier areas of the circuit.”

Fred Vasseur, team principal

“In terms of the team it’s a circuit we all know very well. The layout should suit our car better than the street courses which caused us so much trouble earlier in the year, especially after we were able to make solid progress over the weekend in Austria.

“Both our drivers were happier with the way their cars were working for them last time out which is a good sign. We were able to see that over the weekend they were able to deliver very similar performances in the sessions and the race. We should have achieved a better result were it not for the unknown factor of the safety car’s appearance which was exactly what our strategy didn’t need at that time! For Silverstone if we can make good progress over the sessions then a little bit of chance going our way in the race we could be quite well placed to deliver.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso

“The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the year for every driver. The fans are very knowledgeable and very fair, and the circuit is a fantastic high-speed challenge. It’s one of the few places where the drivers feel like they’ve been let off the leash because you can really feel the aerodynamic grip at Silverstone, which makes it very pleasurable to drive.

“This is also the home race of McLaren. A lot of the factory-based staff come to watch us at the track, which is special and it would be fantastic to get a good result for all of them.

“My victories at Silverstone were very special. Both were exciting races and I’ll never forget the reception I received from the crowd when I came onto the podium. It was fantastic and it’s that generosity towards all of the drivers, and not only the British ones, that gives the race such a special atmosphere.

“From a performance point of view, it’s important that we get through the whole weekend cleanly, efficiently and without problems. We’ve had a couple of tricky races, but, through it all, there have been some genuine glimpses of progress.

“For me, I want to make progress through Friday and Saturday, then be able to deliver a performance on Sunday that justifies all our efforts. We can do it, and to be able to turn that corner in front of thousands of McLaren-Honda fans would be a fantastic reward for the whole team.”

Jenson Button

“I’ve been going to Silverstone for almost as long as I can remember. I raced there in karts, in Formula Ford, in Formula Three and, of course, in F1 for the last 16 years. It’s a wonderful track and the British fans are something else. They’ve given me unflinching support during my career, through the good times and the bad, and for that I’m hugely grateful.

“The high-speed corners are great fun, and, whatever your car’s level of competitiveness, you can’t help but smile as you drive through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts because it’s so fast through there. Silverstone is one of my highlights of the year.

“Finishing on the podium at the British Grand Prix is top of my ‘to do’ list in F1. I’ve achieved pretty much everything else that I set out to do in F1, but I’ve never stood on the podium at Silverstone. I really want to do that and it would feel like a victory if I were to achieve it.

“Of course, the result in Austria last week really motivates everybody, and it raises everyone’s expectations, too. It would be lovely to be able to claim that a podium this year might finally be possible, but, being realistic, that won’t be possible this time.

“But I head to Silverstone feeling hugely encouraged by our progress, and just what we can achieve as a team when the variables are thrown into the air and all the teams are left to somewhat improvise: we can do great things.

“It goes without saying that I’ll be giving it everything at Silverstone this weekend.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“Silverstone is a very special race, both for the fans and for the people who work in Formula One. The circuit has something for everyone: it has history, it has fast corners and it has a unique atmosphere. It’s a privilege to go racing there.

“And, of course, the British Grand Prix is the first of McLaren-Honda’s two ‘home’ races, along with Suzuka in Japan. We have many great memories of racing at Silverstone, a place where we’ve scored many notable victories over the years.

“This year we do battle with a much improved MP4-31. Jenson’s result in Austria showed that, when everything comes together, we can perform operationally at a high standard; but, equally, the issues that affected Fernando on both Saturday and Sunday show that we still need to raise our game on every front.

“It’s important to remember that we were able to punch above our weight in Austria, but, with so many McLaren-Honda fans in the crowd this weekend, we’ll be doing our best to pull another strong result out of the bag.”

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

"The British Grand Prix needs no introduction as it’s one of the oldest and most iconic races on the F1 calendar. It’s also one of the most challenging races, with a reputation as one of F1's few remaining power circuits. The track is long and flat, and power and fuel hungry, which will no doubt create a fierce midfield battle for us, but I think we’ve learned from both Baku and Austria that we’re definitely progressing forward as a team, and it’s up to us to extract the most out of the car throughout the weekend.

"Silverstone will also mark the first of two home grands prix for the McLaren-Honda team this season, so we’re looking forward to what will be a busy but special weekend. The British fans are some of the most passionate in the world and they’ve always shown Honda great support throughout our years in Formula One.

"It's the fans and their passion that make the British Grand Prix so special, so we hope that we can bring both cars home within the points in front of the home crowd.”

Haas

Romain Grosjean

“It’s a really cool track, especially the fast part through Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel corners. When you have the grip in the car there, you really get the sensation of the g-forces. Everything’s pushing down. You really want to get the first part of the flowing corners right. If you don’t, you just lose a lot of time. When the car is very stable and has good balance, you can go flat out and really push it to the limit. That’s where F1 is at its best.

“I think probably Baku we were flat out for longer periods of time, but Silverstone is a power track as well. You need good power to get a good lap time there. There are a few straight lines and a few overtaking opportunities but, mainly, Silverstone is about the grip of the car through the high-speed corners.

“There are a few spots [to overtake]. On the straights and through the high-speed corners, you have an opportunity if your car is much better balanced than the car in front of you. After turn three or turn four, there’s the long section after the slow-speed corners, and that’s a good opportunity as well. But the thing about Silverstone is really the difference between a well-balanced car and an unbalanced car, that’s where the opportunity lies.

“Silverstone is in the UK, and the UK weather is known to be sometimes rainy, sometimes dry. That plays a part. It can change a lot between qualifying and the race, and then even in the race itself. You can also have a good car in qualifying, but if it’s not quite perfectly balanced for the race, you’ll pay the price. That’s where success lies, and probably why most of the winners didn’t start from pole position.

“I think Silverstone is a track that the team knows very well and it’s in line with Barcelona. We can use the knowledge from Barcelona and use it at Silverstone for the normal baseline setup and, hopefully, get it right from the beginning. You want as much downforce as you can get.”

Esteban Gutierrez

“You approach Turn 1 after the main straight, which is usually flat out and on the limit. You go into Turn 2, which is important to prepare the line for Turn 3. It’s a high-braking corner, pretty slow, but then goes into another hairpin - a very slow-speed corner. After exiting Turn 4, you have Turn 5, which is also flat out, and it’s important to have a good balance and good traction. Approaching Turn 6 is a medium-speed corner and you enter with a lot of speed. Entry is more important than exit. Then you have Turn 7, which is a pretty long corner and pretty challenging for the tyres because you arrive with the tyres warmed up on the surface and you’re trying to get good traction out of there. Then you come into the back straight before Turn 9, which is one of the nicest corners on the circuit. It’s a very high-speed corner and then it starts my favourite section, approaching into the series of corners which is 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. It’s very important to have a good rhythm. You enter with a lot of speed and you can’t lose the line. You want a good exit out of the last corner. Then it’s down another straight. You approach Turn 15, which is a very nice corner, very fast, braking very late and with a lot of lateral while turning into the corner. Then you approach the last part of the track, which is the chicane, and a very long exit after the chicane, which obviously makes traction very challenging.”

Guenther Steiner, team principal

“There will be no changes to the [VF-16’s] aerodynamics. The car will be getting an engine package upgrade, which will be a combination of being more efficient and having better performance. It is quite normal that we get the upgrade a couple of races after Ferrari. We are very happy with that since we don’t have to test it and they get to experience it first and make changes, if needed.”


Williams

Valtteri Bottas

“Silverstone is a special event. It’s a home race for Williams and it’s one of the good tracks for our car. It’s also one of the most enjoyable tracks to drive a Formula One car because of the high-speed nature of the circuit. My favourite part of the track is Becketts, which is a lot of fun because it has a really nice flow to it. The crowd at Silverstone is amazing as well. I’m always impressed by how much support the motorsport fans in the UK give to us.”

Felipe Massa

“Silverstone is the home Grand Prix for the team, which is really special, and it’s truly an amazing track to drive. It’s a circuit with a lot of high-speed corners, so you need to have a very good car in that respect. Typically British, it’s a circuit where the weather changes very quickly! It can be wet, dry, or completely mixed - anything can happen, which we’ve seen many times over the last few years. As Williams’ home Grand Prix, it’s an important place for the team to get a good result, especially as we have so much history there. Plus, it’s one of the oldest races on the calendar, so I’m really looking forward to what will be a special race.”

Pat Symonds, chief technical officer

“Silverstone is another strong circuit for us and even though Austria did not deliver what it promised, there is no reason to think that our home race won’t give us a strong result. The weather in Britain has been quite unpredictable over the last month and may well play a role in the outcome of the weekend ahead. We’re confident that we have overcome the problem that forced Felipe to start from the pit lane and expect both cars to be running the latest front wing, which showed a positive result during testing in Austria. We always look forward to racing at our home circuit, particularly as it gives our factory-based workforce, who contribute so much to the overall performance of the car, the opportunity to see the product of their work race in anger. We’ve enjoyed good performances here over the last couple of years, which also adds to the enjoyment of this challenging track.”

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

“I’m still feeling disappointed with the result in Austria. When you start on the front row you obviously have big hopes for the race, but things just didn’t work out for us. Fortunately we have Silverstone this week so I can get back in the car and focus on getting a good result.

“The team’s home race is always a busy weekend because our factory is next to the track. It’s one of those special races because the grandstands are full, there’s a buzzing atmosphere and the energy of the fans gives you a real boost. We usually visit one of the campsites and it’s great to meet the fans and have a chat - you always see how much they love the sport.

“I love driving at Silverstone and the circuit is a real challenge. The fast sections are very enjoyable and corners such as Maggots and Becketts are some of the best of the season where you feel the true performance of an F1 car.”

Sergio Perez

“The last race was very exciting, but sadly it was one lap too long for me. I may have lost some points, but there were a lot of positives from my race and I feel confident for Silverstone and the rest of the season.

“Silverstone is one of the best tracks of the year. I think all the drivers say it’s one of their favourites. There is so much history and all the great drivers have raced and won there. For me it’s very important that we keep going back to these historic circuits because they helped make Formula One what it is today.

“Silverstone is a track that really tests aero performance. We’ve made good progress with the car in this area so I think we can be competitive once again. Another big factor for Silverstone is the unpredictable British weather. I remember in 2012 when it rained so much on the Saturday and qualifying had to be delayed, but the fans never lost their enthusiasm. They always help create a great atmosphere.”

Vijay Mallya, team principal

“Leaving Austria empty-handed was very disappointing. We showed good form throughout the weekend, but various factors prevented us from realising our true potential. We’ve understood what went wrong and I’m confident we can bounce back this weekend at Silverstone.

“We shouldn’t let one unlucky race overshadow the great results we have been achieving recently. We’re sitting fifth in the championship and the battle for fourth remains wide open with twelves races still to go. We’ve got some extra performance coming for the VJM09 this weekend and that should help us for the races leading up to the summer break.

“There is no denying that Silverstone is one of the most special races of the whole season. Being so close to our factory, just across the road, means our staff can be close to the action and we enjoy incredible support from our fans. The British Grand Prix is one of the classic races on the calendar and the atmosphere is unique: the supporters are brilliant and knowledgeable; there is a party atmosphere in the campsites and the weekend is a true celebration of our sport.”


Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“With the majority of teams choosing mostly the softest compound available - a consistent trend we have seen all year - it’s clear that the intention of many drivers is to run quite an aggressive strategy, which on a track like Silverstone could result in multiple pit stops. As last year showed, the weather is also a typically British variable, which means that we are likely to be in for an unpredictable race.”


Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

“I really do love Silverstone, it has always been a track I’ve loved since my early days driving there. I love street circuits, but equally I love high-speed corners and fast circuits and Silverstone has got some of the best on the calendar in Maggotts, Becketts and Chapel. They’re fun and they require a lot of commitment. If you’ve got a good car behind you feel every bit of its force and potential.”

Max Verstappen

“Driving at Silverstone feels a little bit like Spa, it’s old-school but also has newly built facilities and modern run-off areas. When you do a really nice, clean lap there it feels pretty special, especially through the fast sections. It’s a real drivers’ track there. You arrive to the corners with a lot of speed so it’s very difficult to find the right line and the track is always changing so you have to adapt to the circumstances. It’s very challenging.”


Sauber

Marcus Ericsson

“After [Austria] we head directly to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. With its technical demand, historical heritage and passionate crowds, the so called home of British motor racing is one of the most traditional circuits where we race Formula One cars.”

Felipe Nasr

“Silverstone is a circuit which I enjoy driving on. It’s one of my favourite tracks. Not only, because I have been living in England for more than five years, but also because it’s always nice to come back to where motorsport and its great fans are at home.”