McLaren preview the Russian GP


Jenson Button is as enthusiastic as ever to a visit a new venue while Kevin Magnussen is happy to be on equal footing with other drivers.

Jenson Button: “It’s always interesting to visit new circuits – it’s fun to get out and explore the contours of the track, the kerbs, the run-offs, the camber – all the things that you don’t really fully experience until you’re on-site and able to see the track for the very first time. That’ll be my priority on Thursday.

“From what I’ve seen of the place, it’s sort of a mix between the tracks we raced on in Valencia and Korea – plenty of long, fast straights hemmed in by concrete walls and high barriers, and a selection of medium-speed corners that seem to have been designed to test the abilities of a car.

“As with all these new venues, they only really begin to unlock themselves once you get out on the track for the first time. I’ve lost none of my enthusiasm for going to new places, so I’ll be keen to get out there on Friday morning and get a feel for the place.”

Kevin Magnussen: “The layout sort of looks a little bit like Abu Dhabi – it has the curving straights into very precise, tight corners, which will really require a lot from the car because it’ll be trying to snap away mid-turn. Like Yas Marina, it looks pretty flat, too.

“It’s hard to see a key place for overtaking – there are no particularly big stops or opportunities where you can really place your car up the inside. Turn 11, which is the right-hander at the end of the back straight, might be a good possibility. Turn 13 could be an option, too.

“A new track is always an interesting test. As a rookie, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to compare myself to the other drivers on more of an equal footing. It should be an interesting weekend.”

Eric Boullier – McLaren Racing Director: “The arrival of the Russian Grand Prix marks a significant moment in Formula 1’s ongoing expansion into new global territories. While that’s significant for the sport, it’s equally important that the event proves able to deliver sporting spectacle and excitement for the fans.

“In terms of facilities, the circuit looks first-class: the track threads its way around some of the architectural landmarks that were erected for this year’s Winter Olympics. It also feels a little bit like a street circuit – it features a plentiful array of 90-degree corners, many of which look likely to be taken at around the same speed.

“It’ll be interesting to measure the popularity of the race; McLaren has long participated at the Mobil 1-backed Moscow City Racing summer festival, which regularly sees huge crowds, and it would be nice if Sochi could replicate the appeal of that event.

“I hope it’s a successful weekend – for the sport and for McLaren.”