McLaren bullish about India

Thu, 20 Oct 15:17:00 2011

McLaren says there is every reason to feel excited about the forthcoming Indian Grand Prix - because, as well as the prospect of having the new event on the calendar, it believes it has a good chance of victory there too.

2011 Korean GP Lewis Hamilton - 0

Formula 1 is preparing itself for its newest grand prix, with the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi set to host India's first race on October 30.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says his team is heading there relishing what is on offer, and upbeat that it can fight once again with Red Bull Racing for the victory.

"I am expecting something exciting, I think we all are," said Whitmarsh about the Indian GP. "It is a venue we have not been to, it is a country we have not visited on the grand prix calendar, so it is going to be interesting.

"I think we felt quite strong in Japan, we felt quite strong in Korea, but Red Bull did a good job. Hopefully it can swing our way in India, and that is what we are trying to do."

The layout of the Buddh circuit will put a premium on both downforce and straight-line speed, something Whitmarsh reckons should put McLaren in good stead.

However, he thinks that unknown factors such as the type of track surface make it difficult to make too firm predictions beforehand.

"I don't know until we get there, until we see the surface and until we see what it is like," he explained. "There is no reason why we cannot be strong there, but I am sure Red Bull will be, I am sure Ferrari will be trying to beat us as well. I think that is the exciting challenge that we have looking forward to India."

As well as trying to get to grips with the new track as quickly as possible, McLaren is also likely to spend some time in Friday practice trying to seek a definitive answer on why Lewis Hamilton's car suffered a front wing downforce loss in Korea.

Hamilton's front wing lost 10 points of downforce during the Korean Grand Prix, which the team suspects was caused by tyre marbles getting stuck between the slop gaps in the wing and affecting the air flow.

Keen to ensure that there will be no repeat in the future, McLaren may run some tests in practice to check that other factors did not contribute to the problem.

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