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McLaren to introduce new parts at China
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Team has had a horrible start to the 2009 Formula One season. Not only on track the Woking-based outfit is struggling, but off-track the team got involved in yet another scandal. Still the team needs to focus on the upcoming challenge: the Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton: “I really enjoy racing in Shanghai – the track is a good blend of fast and slow stuff and it throws up a few nice challenges for the drivers. Finding the right set-up is important, you need speed and balance through the high-speed corners but decent mechanical grip for the hairpins. We got it spot-on last year, and while I don’t expect us to enjoy that sort of performance advantage this season, I think we’re all looking forward to a good showing. Hopefully, some of the upgrades we’ve added to MP4-24 for this race will have a benefit: it would be very encouraging if we could qualify a little further up the grid and be regularly challenging for points.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “The best corners on the Shanghai International Circuit are Turns Six and Seven – the fast, sweeping left- and right-handers. The left is almost flat in sixth before you shift down a gear and change direction at very high speed. It’s difficult to find the ideal set-up because of the variety of different corners: there’s some heavy braking, fast esses and high-speed changes of direction, which require a good aero package, and some slower corners where mechanical grip is important. It’s all about compromise – it’s a real challenge for the drivers and the engineers. But at least you can overtake – mainly into Turns Four, 10 and 13 – so I hope we’ll see some great racing this weekend.”

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “We have reasons to be both disappointed and optimistic about our performance in the opening races of the 2009 season: disappointed because we do not yet possess the necessary technical package to enable us to fight with the leaders, but optimistic that our rate of progress is sufficiently rapid that we should be able to fight for points finishes on a regular basis. This weekend’s race will see a number of new components introduced to MP4-24, and while we do not expect them to radically transform the car’s potential, they should move us a little closer to the front than we saw in the opening two races.”

Norbert Haug, vice-president Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “Last year, Lewis drove an excellent race on this challenging circuit and won. For this year’s Chinese Grand Prix, it has to be our target to start further up the grid than was the case in the first two grands prix. Those two races showed that points-finishes or even podiums were possible, even when the basic speed was not good enough. The team has developed further technical and aerodynamic improvements which should enable us to make another small step forward.”

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