McLaren count on Austria experience

Tuesday 17-June-2014 12:51

Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen heads into this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix as two of the only drivers on the grid that has raced at the Spielberg venue before.

Of the current drivers, only Button and Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have prior experience of a Formula One race there, while Magnussen raced at the venue during the World Series by Renault last year.

Although Jean-Eric Vergne carried out a demonstration run for Toro Rosso during the same event in 2013, McLaren have an enviable record at the Red Bull Arena, as it is called now, and have won more races there than any other team.

Significant changes have been made to the infrastructure since the previous race there in 2003, but the layout remains the same as when Michael Schumacher won from pole position 11 years ago.

"I think it's great that we're going back to Austria," Button said ahead of this weekend's race.

"Obviously, the Austrian Grand Prix has such a lot of history, the country has had some great drivers and champions in the past, and it's also currently got a world-class grand prix team, so it makes a lot of sense for us to be racing there again.

"I think [the Red Bull Ring is] a great venue, a fantastic location for a grand prix. From my previous visits, I remember the clear mountain air, the cool morning temperatures before the sun hit the paddock, and the fast, sweeping corners that still largely exist, and which give this circuit a great feel from the cockpit. I remember the racing line for turn one would lead us far out over the exit kerbs and onto the tarmac run-off - it was crazy, and it'll be interesting to see what has changed in the intervening ten years. I hear that the track has been left largely unchanged, but that the pits and paddock have been renovated. I think that's a good call - the track is simple but great. A mini-classic."

Magnussen's experience at the venue came more than a decade after that of Button and McLaren hope to be able to use some of the data the youngster collected in the simulator as part of their preparation.

"It's strange to be able to say it, but, of all the drivers on the F1 grid, I've probably got the most recent experience of racing at the Red Bull Ring," 21-year-old Magnussen added.

"It's a very cool place - a circuit where you never really get to rest in the cockpit because the track is always going somewhere. There's only really one 'straight' straight, along the start/finish line, but it's book-ended by fast corners so the opportunity to relax is pretty minimal.

"But that's what makes it so enjoyable - every lap is a real adrenaline rush because the corners never stop coming. You need to really be on top of the car around here, you want it to be doing exactly what you ask of it, simply because the lap is so physical, the driver is actually doing a lot of work, so he needs his car to take as much of that burden as possible.

"I think this'll be a great new addition to the calendar - the circuit is a hardcore racetrack!"

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