The McLaren Mercedes team arrive at Austin for the United States Grand Prix on the back of one of their best results of the season in Russia three weeks ago when Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen finished fourth and fifth at Sochi, and both the Briton and the Dane will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
Button has scored points in both previous races at Austin, with a best result of fifth in 2012, and is looking forward to getting back on track after the three-week break since Sochi. He has always been impressed by the facility and the support from the American fans, and is hopeful of a good result as the team continue to push through upgrades to their car even at this late stage of the season.
“It’ll be good to get to Austin after the three-week break,” insisted Button. “I really enjoy this circuit; a great mix of a high-speed straight and really fast, technical sections to get your teeth into. It’s also one of the few circuits that run anti-clockwise, which makes it a little bit more of a challenge.
“Although this is only our third grand prix in Austin, it feels like we’ve been going there a lot longer. It’s testament to the fans, who are fantastic and always provide a great welcome, and it’s already a very popular track amongst the drivers.
“I’ve had positive results there over the past two years, and our performance in recent races has shown that our pace is improving as we move towards the end of the season, so I’m looking forward to this weekend. Perhaps this track won’t suit us quite as well as Sochi did, but it’s a similar circuit in terms of set-up so I’m hopeful we can take the fight to our closest rivals. As usual, we’ll be pushing to get the maximum out of our car and secure a strong finish for the team in front of the passionate US fans.”
Team-mate Magnussen is making his first appearance at the Austin circuit, and admits he is intrigued by its challenge. He is hopeful of carrying the momentum from the strong performance in Russia three weeks ago into the United States and secure another good haul of points for the McLaren team in their on-going battle with Sahara Force India over fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I’m really intrigued by this circuit; it’s already become one of the drivers’ favourites and the mix of high-speed corners and elevation changes makes it a really exciting challenge,” said Magnussen. “Although this will be my first time driving on the track here in Austin, I’ve driven it in the simulator and many of the corners have similarities to corners on other great circuits. Turns Three, Four and Five are very like the fast Maggotts-Becketts section at Silverstone, for example, which I know well, so I’m really looking forward to getting out on track in the car.
“The track has a very long, fast back straight but also lots of complex, high-speed corners, so this weekend the focus will be on finding the best balance and set-up compromise with my engineers as soon as we get started. I’ve also heard a lot about the famous ‘Austinite’ welcome – the fans in the US are always really enthusiastic so there should be a great atmosphere.
“In Russia we battled hard and came away with a positive result, so despite the three-week break I’m determined to carry that momentum into Austin and hit the ground running, so that we can secure another decent performance for the team.”