Jenson Button, McLaren
2012 Qualifying – 11th, 2012 Race – 9th
“The start of the European season in Spain always feels like a fresh start to the year. Suddenly, you’re back in Europe, the motorhomes and transporters are all lined up in the paddock, and it feels like a second home for everyone. It’s been difficult for the team to make consistent progress through the first four races, but I think returning to a circuit where we undertook two of the pre-season tests will give us a useful benchmark of our progress so far.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of next weekend’s upgrades; but, as with every upgrade, they’re simply part of the series of continuous improvement that are made across the season. As always, there’ll be elements of it that work, elements that perhaps work in a different way to what we’d anticipated, and elements that don’t work, or perhaps require further work. That’s life in modern Formula One. So I’m pragmatic about what we’ll discover next weekend. Of course, I’m hopeful that it’ll move us a step closer towards the destination.”
Sergio Perez, McLaren
2012 Qualifying – 6th, 2012 Race – DNF
“I’m looking forward to having my first European race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. The Circuit de Catalunya is a place all Grand Prix drivers know well because we do a lot of miles there in the winter. It’ll be a good place to test the car as it’s a very demanding circuit aerodynamically. We have a lot of historic data from our testing there, and we’ll get a good read on our performance when we start testing next Friday. It’s quite a demanding circuit aerodynamically, too, so it should be a very useful weekend for us in terms of understanding the MP4-28 and the direction forwards that we choose to take.
“I hope that the introduction of two DRS zones at Barcelona will help improve the racing. We saw in both China and Bahrain that Formula One cars can race really closely if they are under the right conditions; Barcelona has always been a difficult circuit for overtaking, so I hope the new regulations will improve matters. It would be great for the thousands in the grandstands if there were some spectacular overtaking along the main straight.”
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“The pace of life in Formula One never relents, and it’s incredible to think that our return to Europe next week will see a quarter of the 2013 championship already gone. As with last year, form at the start of the season is still somewhat volatile and unpredictable; last year’s Spanish Grand Prix saw an unexpected but worthy winner in Pastor Maldonado, and while it would be difficult to see another left-field runner emerging as a contender for victory, the formbook is still hard to read. We are pushing ahead to develop MP4-28, and will be hoping for a productive weekend that will allow us to gather a useful data set for the races ahead.”