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Thu, 5 July, 2012Britain: Team personnel preview quotes

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Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“The races so far this season have been very difficult to read, and while that may be frustrating for some, it also creates opportunities. It has also made for some incredibly exciting races and challenged many preconceptions – as we saw last time out at Valencia, a circuit at which established wisdom tells you there are very few opportunities to overtake. As we look forward to the Santander British Grand Prix, therefore, we have to keep an open mind from the minute we arrive to the moment the chequered flag is unfurled. The team that best manages the performance delta of the tyres is the one best placed to win, and to do that you have to take every opportunity to gather data and learn from it quickly and effectively. Today, Grands Prix are no longer sprint races that are won or lost on the first lap. While that means hard work for us and for our rivals, it is excellent news for the fans in the grandstands and for those watching at home. It means excitement from beginning to end, and that is what Formula 1 must continue to offer. This is our home race and we approach it, as ever, determined to win. I genuinely expect the Santander British Grand Prix to be an unmissable spectacle.”

Ross Brawn, Mercedes (Team Principal):
“As with any of our home races, the British Grand Prix is really a very special weekend for the team, particularly because its proximity to our two Northamptonshire-based factories enables so many of our employees to see our cars in action. Silverstone has a very special atmosphere, with the British fans being so passionate about motorsport, and the new developments which we saw last year have really contributed to creating a fantastic venue for the Grand Prix weekend. Our successful weekend in Valencia has provided a further boost to the team, with a lot of hard work continuing at the factories to further improve our performance, and we look forward to having another strong weekend at Silverstone.”

Norbert Haug, Mercedes (Daimler):
“Silverstone is one of the most challenging circuits of the year, with average qualifying lap speeds of over 220 kph and seven of the 18 corners taken at over 250 kph. It is a complete test of both car and driver. This is also a special race for our Silver Arrows works team, with our factories in Brackley and Brixworth both located nearby the circuit, and our colleagues will be watching our British home race with particular attention. Since his first win in China on 15th April, Nico has scored 75 points in six races, just one fewer than championship leader Fernando Alonso in the same period. Michael finished on the podium in third place in Valencia, after technical problems in the previous rounds had prevented him from scoring a similar number of points to his team-mate. Our full focus is now on improving our speed and achieving total reliability. It is also worth noting that the three British drivers on the grid this weekend will be racing with Mercedes-Benz power and, indeed, Mercedes-Benz was part of the last 30 victories for British drivers in Formula One. Silverstone can lay claim to being on of the homes of motorsport and the fans there are among the most knowledgeable. Everybody in the team is looking forward to this classic race with the aim of delivering a good performance.”

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber-Ferrari (Head of Track Engineering):
“The Silverstone circuit is very different from the last two tracks we've been racing on. It has some challenging high speed corners and requires a set-up which is optimised with regard to aerodynamics as well as changes of direction. Silverstone has the charm of some of the older tracks with a surface that is not perfect and quite bumpy in some places. It also offers some real challenges for the drivers. The straights are not very long, therefore we can afford to run quite a lot of downforce. The DRS zone is in the same place as last year, in the section that was built a couple of years ago. Its length is quite limited which means overtaking is not so easy. We will be running the soft and the hard tyre compounds, which I expect to suit this track nicely, and also warming-up should not be an issue. An important factor in Silverstone is always the weather, an aspect we need to take into consideration when preparing for the race weekend, and something which we might to need to adapt to during the race. Our Sauber C31 will get an aerodynamic development package, which includes some modifications of the engine cover and the rear of the car. Looking at the layout of this track and the characteristics of our car, I think we can approach this race weekend with a lot of optimism.”

Mark Gillan, Williams-Renault (Chief Operations Engineer):
“Following our strong showing in Valencia, which unfortunately ultimately ended in disappointment, we head to our home Grand Prix at Silverstone with high hopes. Silverstone is a great circuit, with the highest average corner speed of any circuit in the championship and is a good challenge for both the driver and car. Pirelli bring their hard (prime) and soft (option) tyres to this race, which is the same pairing that we used successfully in Barcelona. We will also bring an updated aerodynamic package to the event which is imperative given the importance of aerodynamic efficiency around this track and how tight the grid is at present. The long range forecast doesn't look particularly promising, predicting a reasonable chance of rain and strong winds throughout the weekend, which could lead to an eventful qualifying and race.”

Mark Smith, Caterham-Renault (Technical Director):
“We left Valencia after a very positive weekend for the whole team. One of the most pleasing aspects for me was seeing that the numbers we had predicted for the upgrades we brought there matched what we did on track, and that gives us a lot of confidence that future upgrade packages should continue the trend we are seeing of the gap to the teams ahead shrinking. For Silverstone we will be bringing a number of new parts, including new rear bodywork, a revised exhaust layout and a number of smaller updates in other bodywork areas around the car. I do not want to make any predictions at this point on what they could be worth, but if we repeat the step forward we made in Valencia we should have another positive weekend.”

Tony Fernandes, Caterham-Renault (Team Principal):
“The European Grand Prix was a very significant race for our team as it was the first time we took on and beat an established midfield team in a straight fight on merit in qualifying. Yes, Heikki's benefited from the issues Mark Webber had on Saturday, but we are now quick enough to take advantage of that sort of opportunity and knock one of the established teams back into the positions we have been filling since we started in the sport just over two and a half years ago. Our performance on Sunday was also extremely positive, with all areas of the team performing at 100% to help us record our best positions of the season, despite both cars being forced to change nosecones after contact with the Toro Rossos. We said at the start of the season that our goals for this year are to score our first point and to join the midfield and I think it is fair to say that we are achingly close to being able to achieve those targets. Silverstone will give us another chance to show that we can make good on those objectives and the upgrades we are bringing will give both Heikki and Vitaly the chance to repeat our qualifying performance in Valencia, and, more importantly, to be able to fight for their track positions from the moment the lights go out on Sunday, right to the end of the race. To see our cars racing a team who were 1.6 seconds ahead of us in qualifying for the first race this year is obviously a very good feeling, for me and my fellow shareholders, our partners and sponsors, our fans and the whole team.”

Luis Pérez-Sala, HRT-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“In Valencia we had a positive weekend and were able to confirm the good sensations we'd felt in the last few races. Silverstone is one of the most emblematic and historic circuits in the Championship and racing there is always something special. We want to see how our car performs at the British track with the latest upgrades because it's a track that contains various quick turns and that's where we suffer most. On another note, I'm happy that Dani will have a new opportunity to sit behind the wheel of the car for the first free practice session. This time he'll be able to get more out of the session because in Barcelona there were many things to test and he had to focus on them, but now he'll be able to get the most out of the experience. Besides, it will be the second time he drives the F112 this season so he won't be stepping into the unknown and won't need a period to adapt.”

John Booth, Marussia-Cosworth (Team Principal):
“There's no place like home when it comes to racing. We visit some fantastic venues all over the world, but the opportunity to race on home asphalt is a special one and we'll be grabbing it with both hands next weekend when we compete at Silverstone. Although this will be our third home race, it is the first since we moved our day to day operations to Banbury from South Yorkshire. We are now based just a little over 17 miles from Silverstone, which means we really are racing in our own backyard. We have a fairly significant upgrade for this race, comprising a new rear wing, exhausts, floor and side pods. I would have to describe this as our 'first proper wind-tunnel generated upgrade of the season'; we've had some smaller parts in Malaysia and China, and a few small iterations recently, but this is the first fully developed package that is not just a modification of existing elements. That is a big result in itself, aside from the performance step we hope it will bring us, as it means we have caught up with ourselves in terms of the diligent way in which we have approached and developed our Technical Partnership. We look forward to seeing what this brings, both at Silverstone and at Duxford Airfield beforehand, when we will be integrating the developments into our correlation programme. Duxford is also the first of our Test Driver Maria De Villota's scheduled track days. She has been waiting patiently all year for this date to come around, so we look forward to seeing her in the car for the first time. There's so much to say about the whole Silverstone experience; the fans are incredibly knowledgable and enthusiastic and it is a real delight to have their support. We will also be putting on a big show for our Partners, who also turn out in force for this event. In turn, we hope to reward them, and our whole team, with a great weekend on the race track. With Timo back to strength and Charles looking to build on a great performance in Valencia, we have good reason to be excited about what our home race can bring.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli (Motorsport Director):
“Silverstone is one of the most iconic circuits on the Formula One calendar, precisely because it is so demanding for the drivers, cars and tyres. This is why we have chosen to test a new experimental hard compound here during free practice, which we may use in the future. The new tyre has a slightly wider working range, which should make it easier for the teams to get the tyres into the right operating temperature window. But with the championship so finely balanced, our priority is to ensure that no one team is handed any particular advantage. We want to keep the performance of the tyres at the highest level for as long as possible, so this is a valuable opportunity for ourselves and all the teams to gather more information about the potential effect of a new compound, and gain some data for the future. Silverstone is a very high-energy circuit that can see some unpredictable weather conditions, so a strong performance from the tyres and an effective strategy are vital ingredients in a successful race outcome.”

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