German Grand Prix Preview With McLaren
Location: Hockenheim, Germany
A little preview ahead of the German Grand Prix this weekend featuring McLaren. Below, you’ll be able to see some of the things the team looks out for and some track facts to learn!
The essentials – German Grand Prix Preview With McLaren
Straight-line speed vs slow-speed grip – There are five high-speed sections around the lap; to be competitive in race conditions a car needs to achieve high top speeds. But overall lap time is also dependent on slow-speed grip through the twisty Motodrom at the end of the lap, so car set-up is a compromise between these two factors.
Unique difficulty Three DRS zones – Traditionally there have been only two DRS zones at Hockenheim, but this year – the first time F1 has raced at the track for a couple of seasons – the opening half of the lap is predominantly spent with the DRS open. All three DRS zones are before Turn Six and the third zone has been increased in length by 110 metres since 2016. This will have an effect on the downforce levels favoured by the engineers.
Biggest challenge Tyre degradation – As was the case at the Chinese Grand Prix in April, Pirelli has skipped a tyre compound. The Ultrasoft tyre is the softest compound being used at the race, but there is no Supersoft tyre; the other tyre compounds are Medium and Soft. If degradation is high, this will impact significantly on race strategy.
Engineer’s Lowdown – German Grand Prix Preview with McLaren
Braking Tough – There are seven braking zones around the lap, four of which are heavy. A total of 15 per cent of the lap is spent on the brakes, which is above average.
Power The cars use 1.6kg of fuel per lap, which is average.
Aero Medium Downforce – The cars need as much aerodynamic grip as possible through the twisty, undulating Motodrom, but straight-line speed is vital along the three straights, so downforce levels are a compromise between these requirements.
Fernando Alonso – German Grand Prix Preview With McLaren
Fernando Alonso: “I enjoy racing at Hockenheim and have won there three times so it’s great to be back after a break last year. The track is viewed as one of the classics, it’s fun to drive and there are a couple of overtaking opportunities – and an extra DRS zone this year – so hopefully we can fight with the cars around us.”
“We know we need to work on our qualifying performances to give ourselves the best chance on Sunday, but we’ve also seen that during the race we can push forward and secure points, so the aim is to achieve the same in Germany next weekend.”
“The next couple of races before the summer break are on very different tracks. We need to work hard, and do as much as possible to adapt our set-up for each of them to maximise our chances. We know this weekend won’t be an easy track for us but we’ll give it our best as always.”
Stoffel Vandoorne – German Grand Prix Preview With McLaren
Stoffel Vandoorne: “Although it’s the only grand prix on the current calendar that I haven’t raced at in Formula 1, I did race at Hockenheim in GP2 and got a podium, so there’s definitely good memories there for me.”
“We know that the Hockenheimring is a challenging track, with long, fast straights that require a lot of power and also a slower, tighter section at the end of the lap where you need good car balance and traction out of the corners.”
“The addition of the third DRS zone will mix things up a bit and the extra overtaking opportunity will hopefully mean an exciting race, where we can have some good battles for the fans.”
“The German crowd really love their motorsport so I think there’ll be a great atmosphere there after two years away.”