Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: Indian Grand Prix (Indian GP) is just round the corner and it will be the 16th race of the 19-race long season. All the teams and their respective drivers are focusing hard as the season is heading towards the last few races. And Team McLaren is no exception either.
McLaren driver Jenson Button finished the inaugural Indian GP, second on the podium, just behind the winner Sebastian Vettel. Even in the second edition, he finished fifth at the Buddha International Circuit (BIC) to earn 10 points from the race.
Now, the third edition of Indian GP will take place from 25 to 27 October. Though this year McLaren hasn’t performed well at all, as they are currently standing fifth in the Constructors’ Championship with 83 points, after the 15th race of the season that took place at the Suzuka Circuit.
But Button is still quite hopeful. While talking about the Indian track, the 32-year-old Button stated: “This is such a great racetrack – it’s fast, flowing and challenging. It’s pretty technical too, which is quite unusual for a fast circuit, but the flow from one corner to the next means that positioning the car is quite critical if you don’t want to fall out of the rhythm and lose time. Track positioning is also important because several areas of the circuit are extremely wide, and narrow down from corner-entry to exit.”
He further added: “The long back straight will once again make it important to balance the car’s gearing and downforce for maximum speed with DRS. That straight, and the braking zone into Turn Four, are probably the most straightforward places on the circuit upon which to overtake. In fact, the rest of the circuit is quite fast, with only a single racing line, so trying to get past during the rest of the lap is pretty tricky.”
The Briton is geared up for the race as he says, “The last few races have shown that, realistically, we’ll once again be fighting for the minor points. Still, I enjoyed my races in Korea and particularly Japan – where it was both satisfying and unusual to be armed with fresh tyres and able to pick off cars on older rubber, as opposed to the other way round – so I’ll be looking to take the fight to some of the faster cars once again next weekend.”
The other McLaren driver looked even more excited for the next weekend race. “I love travelling to India – it’s such a rich and vibrant country, and always an eye-opening place for any visitor,” says Sergio Perez.
“The Indian Grand Prix has been an interesting and exciting event for the past two years – I really think it’s starting to make its mark on the country. It’s well attended, and the crowds seem interested, enthusiastic and passionate – that’s always great to see,” the Mexican added.
As Indian GP has been excluded from the next season’s F1 calendar, not only the organizers but also the drivers want to put some extra efforts to make this Indian race quite special. “With the race skipping a year for 2014, I hope we can help make this year’s event particularly memorable. We know we don’t have the machinery to fight the top four teams, but there’s always fierce competition around the fringes of the top 10; scrapping for points might not be what Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is all about, but it’s nonetheless satisfying to nail the set-up and the strategy and drive a perfect race,” Perez said.