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Mercedes Chief Names Two Favorite Drivers For McLaren


Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Norbert Haug, Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes Chief Names Two Favorite Drivers For McLaren

Anthony Fontanelle
June 8, 2007

As the Canadian Grand Prix approaches and the controversy of the Monaco Grand Prix fresh on the minds of Formula One fans, Mercedes sports chief Norbert Haug stepped in to clear the matter. The president in charge of Mercedes-Benz motorsport said that Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has “two favorite drivers” in Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

“'The order is whatever you like, as long as one of the two is ahead at the end, Fernando or Lewis - we have two favorite drivers in our team,” Haug said in an interview with German news firm Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Currently, the teammates are sharing the top spot in the driver’s championship with 38 points each. Technically though, Alonso leads the race for the driver’s championship by virtue of winning two races this season so far which he won at the Malaysian and Monaco Grands Prix. Meanwhile, Hamilton racked his 38 points by consistently taking podium finishes. He took the third place at the opening race of the season and took all second place finishes in every race after that.

“'We want the world titles, both the drivers' and constructors', and for this we are working harder than ever,” says Haug. According to him, the secret to the team’s dominance in the early goings of the season is “'hard work, complete integration of all team members in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart, the highest readiness for self-criticism, a good atmosphere and the absolute will continually to improve.”

After the Monaco Grand Prix which Alonso won, the governing body of Formula One, the FIA, conducted an investigation in the apparent team order implemented by McLaren. The team was later cleared after the FIA found no violation committed by the team. According to Haug, “if FIA had had the slightest suspicion we would certainly have been punished. But they didn't find anything and that doesn't surprise me. Where there isn't anything you won't find anything.” During the race, the team’s cars performed well from the tires to the suspension and to every engine components including the rocker arms and other engine components.

After the said controversy, Haug expects the team to perform well at the Canadian Grand Prix even if the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the exact opposite of the Circuit de Monaco. “'The circuit in Montreal is the complete opposite of Monaco. A little instead of a lot of downforce, fast instead of slow turns, higher instead of lower average speeds, and on top of that the highest demands on the brakes in the whole season,” says Haug. He added that “we have tested on the long Paul Ricard circuit (in Montreal) and I think we are well equipped.”

The team though has to watch out for a good performance from bitter rival Ferrari. Felipe Massa, driving for the Italian team, is consistent in his performance and is keen to take another win this season. Massa is currently on third place in the driver’s championship race. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen is also looking to close the gap between Ferrari and McLaren at the next race of the season where Ferrari is favored more than McLaren. “Monaco is just a distant memory. Now everything is changed for Canada. One thing is for sure, McLaren will not be one minute ahead of us like they were in Monaco,” says Raikkonen.

Source:  Amazines.com

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