After picking up a meagre six points after Michael Schumacher took seventh place last weekend at Silverstone, just short distance from the team’s factory, the Mercedes F1 team now head to what they describe as their second home race hoping for a more impressive result.
Hockenheim, venue for this year’s German Grand Prix, is about 100km from the Daimler and Mercedes-Benz HQ in Stuttgart and, of course, the home race for both Schumacher and team-mate Nico Rosberg. Both drivers are eagerly anticipating this next race, and hoping they can deliver in front of their compatriots in the grandstands.
“People often ask me whether there is any such thing as a home advantage in such an international sport as ours and my answer is: perhaps not a home advantage, but certainly a home-race feeling,” explains the seven-time world champion. “As a German driver, you naturally have a different sense of excitement when you arrive at the German Grand Prix and know that all the spectators in the grandstands are supporting you. That makes you proud, and always boosts your motivation even higher.
“This year is the first time that our Mercedes works team has been capable of racing right at the front, and because of that, we’re hoping for lots of support from the fans and to reward them with our performance. Hopefully we will see a lot of Mercedes colleagues in the grandstands, and we want to do particularly well for them. We have set ourselves the clear target of giving everybody a reason to celebrate next weekend.”
Rosberg thinks that Hockenheim will suit the MGP W03 better than Silverstone did, and the German also recalls some found memories from this track.
“I am really looking forward to our second home Grand Prix next week,” he said. “Hockenheim is always very special for us, and especially for me. I was born in Wiesbaden, near Hockenheim, and I have really good memories of the previous Hockenheim races.
“Before my Formula One career, I won quite often at this circuit, and I will never forget my father’s last DTM race in 1995. I joined him on the roof of his car driving through the Motodrom – and that was the moment when I thought to myself “How cool is that?!” and decided to become a racing driver like him.
“I will be pushing really hard to perform well in front of our fans in the Mercedes Grandstand, so we can hopefully celebrate a good result together. I think our car should suit this track much better than Silverstone. Hockenheim has long straights and short corners, which will be good for the Silver Arrow.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn agrees that this Mercedes car, and talks about how the team, having found some competitive pace, are now pushing for a better level of consistency.
“The German Grand Prix will be our second home race in two weeks following the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last weekend, and we are looking forward to racing in front of our home fans and Mercedes-Benz colleagues once again,” he said. “As the Mercedes-Benz works team, the weekend is always a special one for our team.
“Our performance has been up and down recently, ranging from podiums to lower points finishes, and we need to work hard to improve our level of consistency and ability to challenge at the front of the field. The Hockenheim layout should be more suited to the F1 W03 than the high-speed Silverstone layout, and we are bringing some further improvements to the car which should help our performance.
“It would be very special to achieve a good result in Germany, so we will be working hard to achieve just that.”