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2015 F1

McLaren-Honda – 2015 US Grand Prix Preview

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McLaren-Honda - 2015 US Grand Prix Preview

McLaren-Honda – 2015 US Grand Prix Preview

Fernando Alonso: “It was obviously disappointing to lose out on 10th place in Sochi, but considering it was a circuit that we knew wouldn’t suit our package, we can’t be too disappointed with the result and the positive reliability of the car all weekend.

“Now we move to Austin which is a very different proposition. We know it’ll be difficult for us in some of the areas we’ve already seen this year, but we will definitely be working flat out to achieve more progress and another positive result. The track is a hybrid of corners from great circuits all around the world, which makes setting up the car tricky, but a precise, well-balanced car will definitely help you there, so we need to build on those strengths straight away.

“I really enjoy going to Austin – a fantastic atmosphere and a city that absolutely loves its racing. The circuit is really fun to drive because it’s so varied, so you have to keep your focus 100 percent all the way around a lap. I had some great battles with Jenson there last year and I’m hoping for more of the same against our competitors this weekend.”

Jenson Button: “Since Sochi I’ve been back at MTC for a couple of days, working hard with my engineers and prepping for the back-to-backs of Austin and Mexico. Although we were lucky on the last lap in Russia, we haven’t had much luck go our way this season so it was encouraging to come away with two points and get both cars to the finish with no issues.

“I’m looking forward to a fun weekend in Austin. The welcome is always incredible and there’s something really special about the city on a race weekend; it really has its own unique charm. The track, too, has firmly become one of the favourites among the drivers because it has a little bit of everything which makes it pretty demanding for us, but very exciting too.

“Last year we really struggled with tyre degradation on the relatively new asphalt, so we need to crack that as soon as we get out on track on Friday and see what we can do to combat it. Circuit of The Americas has long straights, heavy braking, fast corners and some twisty sections, but its flowing nature could play to our package’s strengths. In Russia we saw that anything is possible, so we’ll be pushing hard as usual to make sure we’re in with a fighting chance come the end of the race.”

Eric Boullier, racing director

“We can’t be too pleased with taking home two points at the last Grand Prix in Russia, but it does go some way to validating the relentless hard work being undertaken by every member of the McLaren-Honda team, and the constant strive for better reliability and trouble-free weekends. It also means we go to Austin on the back of an encouraging weekend and hungry for another more positive performance as we near the end of the season.

“Although this is only the fourth time that Formula One has visited Circuit of The Americas, it already feels like another friendly and familiar North American home alongside Montreal, and its popularity has quickly grown among drivers, fans and teams alike.

“Both Fernando and Jenson have made some great starts in the past few races, so it’ll be interesting to see how we fare there with the unique challenge of COTA’s uphill Turn One. Its power-hungry, fast straights and corners definitely won’t be easy on our package, but our car’s strengths lie in the twisty, precise infield sections, so we’ll focus on a set-up to make the most of what we have there. Combined with the warm ‘Austinite’ welcome from the fans and the excitement that always greets us there, we are hoping for more good luck and a solid performance where we can enjoy some battles with our nearest rivals.”

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

“We head to Circuit of The Americas with anticipation. It is a highly technical track that provides exciting racing, particularly the jostling for position around Turn One and the high speed esses that follow Turn Two.
“Overall it provides us with a very atmospheric Grand Prix weekend with enthusiastic fans. COTA is also a challenging track for the power unit set-up as the 20 turns vary in character and are infused with undulation.

“Our goal is to gather more data throughout the remaining races, especially from our new ICE introduced in Sochi two weeks ago. The team has confirmed that the development direction is good, so we will now work on fine tuning it for the remaining four races. It will be interesting to see how this will work together with the updated aero package this weekend.”

Tim Goss, technical director

“COTA is a really interesting engineering challenge. It has a mix of fast corners, a long straight and a slow-speed section, and getting the compromise right between these different challenges is the key to maximising your performance.

“The first section is very fast and flowing, through which the car needs a very good front end. You end up putting the aero balance some way forward to help the driver through here. That’s all good and well, but immediately after these fast corners you have a heavy braking area and it’s absolutely essential to get that right. You need to maintain the DRS time delta to the car in front because what comes next is a one-kilometre (0.62-mile) straight and a really good overtaking opportunity; so, even though you may have set up the car for the high-speed section, you need to make sure that it has the rear stability to allow the driver to attack the low-speed corners. It’s a classic compromise that’s difficult to get right.”

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