F1 Melbourne - Preview


Woking, United Kingdom, Mar 20, 2009

Lewis Hamilton
“I like the race track and the great atmosphere in Melbourne. Most importantly, everyone arrives with an air of enthusiasm and expectation – despite weeks of winter testing, it’s still difficult to know exactly who has the best package, and finding out over the weekend in Albert Park is always fascinating. Perhaps Vodafone McLaren Mercedes doesn’t come to Melbourne with the same prospects to challenge at the front that we experienced in both 2007 and ’08, but the whole team will be working tirelessly to help us move back to the front.”

Heikki Kovalainen
“I finished fifth and posted the fastest lap of the race in Melbourne last year on my debut for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. It’s a track I love – a circuit that you really have to attack with a lot of enthusiasm if you are to get the best from the car. The fast esses at the back of the circuit are probably the most demanding corners – getting it just right is a hugely satisfying feeling. Everybody in our team is really motivated and, while we won’t start the season as favourites, we will be working around the clock to get back there.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“We go into the start of the 2009 season fully aware that we do not yet have the technical package that will allow our drivers to fight at the front. In Formula 1, there is nowhere to hide: that’s what makes our sport so demanding and yet so endlessly fascinating. And as a team that goes grand prix racing with the expectation of winning races and challenging for world championships, we therefore go to Melbourne with realistic expectations. Nonetheless, we begin our season with the huge determination to re-assert ourselves at the front, and we will not rest for a moment until we have done that. Most importantly, we haven’t forgotten how to win.”

Norbert Haug, Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Melbourne is the city where - 12 years ago - McLaren Mercedes achieved their first of 58 grand prix wins since then. After a total of four victories at Albert Park, this time it may not be possible to repeat Lewis Hamilton's success of last year. Considering our test results we will not be as competitive at the season opener as we intend to be, and so I do not expect a qualifying result at the front of the grid. However, we will all work hard to return to the front as soon as possible and also in Melbourne everybody in the team is fully motivated to do everything to achieve the best possible result.”

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