After a year off of the Formula 1 calendar, the weekend of the 30/31 July 2016 sees the return of the German Grand Prix. Coming off the back of his respectable seventh position at last week’s Hungarian Grand Prix, five-time winner at the Hockenheimring, Fernando Alonso, hopes that McLaren will be able to ‘maximise everything’ in their armoury in order to challenge other midfield teams.
The Spanish driver knows that McLaren may not be as strong in Germany as they were in Hungary, commenting that; “For sure it will be different to Hungary – we can’t expect to be the number four team there, and our midfield rivals will be stronger, but we’ll try to maximise everything we have in our armoury and give it our best shot. The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the first half of the year, so it’ll be great to be able to have some luck and bring both cars home without any major issues.”
Having had a string of successes in Germany over his time as a driver, understandably Alonso is excited to see that the race is back on the calendar, after not featuring last year for the first time since 1977 when the Hockenheimring became the permanent venue for the Grand Prix.
“I’m pleased to be heading back to Hockenheim after we missed a race in Germany in 2015. It’s been a good circuit for me in the past – I’ve had three victories on this circuit, and five in Germany, so there’s lots of happy memories. There’s usually a good atmosphere there and there’s something special about the feeling of it being the last race before the summer break – everyone is upbeat and pushing hard because they want to finish the first half of the season on a high.”
Despite commenting that he felt that McLaren wouldn’t be the ‘number four team’ again in Germany, he did suggest that he was happy with the progress he and the team were making with the car.
“Hockenheim is quite a technical circuit which requires fairly high downforce, and although most of the corners are relatively low-speed, they come after long, power-hungry straights, so the set-up of both the power unit and chassis for both eventualities can be quite tricky. For this kind of circuit, you need a car with which you can push, and I feel we’re making improvements in that area.”
Having had a successful qualifying in extremely wet conditions at the Hungarian Grand Prix, it could be imagined that members of the McLaren team will be doing a rain dance this weekend, with Alonso commenting that: “The weather is always a factor in Germany – this time of year tends to be hot, but you can never be 100 per cent sure, so even a little bit of rain could mix things up a bit, which might help us. We’re know it’ll be a tough race, but after Hungary – even though the characteristics are very different – I’m pleased with the progress we’re making and I’m definitely up for the challenge.”