24 July 2014
McLaren hoping F1 history repeats in Hungary
With an enviable pedigree at the Hungaroring, McLaren is on the hunt for F1 points in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
With all eleven F1 teams out to produce a strong result heading into the summer shut-down, McLaren is hoping its drivers' past success in Hungary will stand them in good stead this weekend.
The Woking squad appears to be on something of an upswing in terms of form, having scored points in the past five rounds, and taken home a double haul from the German, British, Canadian and Monaco grands prix in that time.
Having started the season with a double podium, Melbourne and Malaysia proved to be something of a false dawn for Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button, who then had to wait until Monaco for a return to the top ten, but the Hungaroring has been kind to both drivers – and McLaren - in the past, and director of racing Eric Boullier is keen to see the trend continue on Sunday.
“McLaren has a fantastic record in Hungary – we've won eleven grands prix there – and, while it's unlikely we'll be in a position to win this year, I think we travel to Budapest feeling encouraged by a number of our recent performances,” the Frenchman commented, “We know there's still a lot to do, but there's a feeling that the whole team's motivation is growing.
“This is effectively the last race of the first half of the season. F1 takes a short break for the summer before we return for the final few races in Europe, then the long and intense series of fly-aways that end the year, and it's always beneficial to go into the summer break with a positive result, so we'll be trying hard to do just that.
“Even more important, it's essential that we maintain our focus and determination with regard to car development. The next six months will be critical for everybody at McLaren, and we'll be working as hard as possible to keep on pushing.”
The relentless twists and turns of the Hungaroring provide the teams with a tricky final challenge ahead of the break, but Button scored his maiden F1 victory there in 2006 – and won again in his 200th grand prix five years later - while Magnussen has enjoyed success at the track in junior formulae.
“I really like the Hungaroring,” the Dane confirmed, “It isn't a fast circuit but, a bit like Monaco, it's a track on which a driver can really make a difference. I raced there last year in World Series by Renault 3.5 and, although I didn't win either of the two races we had that weekend, I really enjoyed the first of them in particular.
“Qualifying had been messed up for many of the drivers, owing to torrential rain, and I ended up 16th on the grid. From there I got it all hooked up really well on race day, which was also extremely wet, and I overtook a load of cars as I worked my way up to second place at the end. It was great!”
The circuit, the slowest permanent venue on the F1 schedule, should also play more to McLaren's strengths, and Magnussen is confident that he and Button should be in contention for points.
“I think we've shown recently that our car performs slightly better on tracks with a combination of low- and mid-speed corners, so I think this weekend will hopefully offer us another opportunity to score some useful world championship points,” the rookie opined, “After a couple of frustrating races, I'm hoping for a weekend where everything comes together.”
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