McLaren preview the Austrian GP


Everyone at McLaren is determined to put their Montreal disaster behind them and move forward in Spielberg.

Fernando Alonso: "The Austrian Grand Prix was a great event last year and I’m looking forward to the race this weekend. It’s a stop-start circuit so it’ll be an interesting challenge, but we’ll keep pushing to make sure we get the most we can out of the weekend.

"Montreal was a difficult race for the whole team – we expected it to be tough because of the nature of the circuit, but obviously a double retirement was especially disappointing. But, of course, just because a weekend doesn’t go to plan, it doesn’t mean we give up.

"We’re still seeing great progress every weekend, and we hope Austria will be the same. Our most important focus is reliability, so that we can get the most time on track in order to make the biggest improvements we can. This is a very physical circuit with four long, fast straights and heavy braking in the corners, so it’ll be challenging for our package, but it’s a really interesting track to race on.

"Spielberg is a beautiful location for a grand prix and going back there last year after an 11-year break was a great experience. It’s still the great circuit it was, and there are quite a few overtaking opportunities which make it even more enjoyable. We’ve already put the last race behind us and I’m keen to get out there, race hard with our nearest competitors, and hopefully have some fun."

Jenson Button: "Despite its relatively simple layout, Spielberg is a fun circuit that usually produces great racing. There was a big crowd and a great atmosphere in 2014, and I hope we can put on another good show for the fans this year.

"Over the past few days we’ve bounced back from Montreal and we’re already looking firmly ahead at the next challenge. As a team, we’re measured ultimately on where we finish on a Sunday afternoon, which doesn’t take into account the progress we’ve made behind the scenes, or in practice and qualifying in the build-up to the race, so it can sometimes be difficult to see the positives after a tough grand prix.

"However, it’s important that we don’t forget how far we’ve come. Yes, both cars retiring from the race was not at all the result we’ve been working so hard for, but we are focused on the progress we’re still making and the improvements that we’ve already made up to this point. There’s still a huge amount of belief within the team, and we’re continuing to push for development in every area back in Woking and Sakura.

"Last year’s Austrian Grand Prix was a huge success, and for the few of us drivers that raced here pre-2003, it’s definitely considered one of those ‘mini-classics’: not so complex in terms of its configuration, but fun to drive. On paper, Austria won’t suit the characteristics of our car, but I’m looking forward to enjoying some good racing there and pushing to make more progress in every session."

Eric Boullier – Racing director: "We can’t deny that retiring both cars in Montreal was a bitter blow, but, undeterred, we quickly shifted our attention to Austria. What’s important to remember is that, despite the disappointment of the last race, we’re always learning and improving, so we mustn’t be too disheartened, and instead we must keep our focus firmly on the road ahead.

"Reliability has been a key issue during our development push, particularly on Fernando’s car. It’s a crucial element of a race weekend that we need to improve in order to continue making progress. We’re getting there, but, like some other teams, we’re now getting to the stage of the season where faults and failures could result in penalties. But those are the rules, and they’re the same for everyone.

"Performance-wise, we expect the Austrian Grand Prix to be another tricky weekend, as it features heavy braking from high speeds and similar stop-start characteristics to Montreal.

"However, before we can even think about performance, we need to work even harder from the very beginning of our race programmes on Wednesday, to ensure all our processes, hardware and software configurations, and our entire approach to the weekend, are flawless, so as to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to get both cars to the chequered flag. In addition, as I say, we may have to consider strategically implementing updates with the aim of improving reliability and performance.

"Speaking more generally about the Austrian Grand Prix, last but not least, Spielberg is a fantastic circuit, immaculately organised and surrounded by stunning scenery, and the incredible fan support makes it even more special. Formula 1’s return to Austria in 2014 was a resounding success for the region as well as the sport, so we can be sure of a fantastic atmosphere and exciting racing this time around too."

Yasuhisa Arai – Chief Officer of Motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd: "Austria's Red Bull Ring is another power circuit with long straights similar to Canada, which means that it will be tough on the power units. We know that our results in Canada were disappointing, so we are now working hard to analyse, correct and mitigate issues going into Austria.

"The high altitude of the track will also affect the power unit performance, and the vehicle as a whole will require good aerodynamics and downforce. The new ERS system improvements made in Canada have been made to counteract this, and will be adjusted to the new aero and chassis updates planned for Austria.

"We will push forward to be stronger as a team."