McLaren aims to bounce back

Following a disastrous Hungarian Grand Prix, where neither of its cars managed to score a point, McLaren has set its sights on bouncing back to the front of the field in Belgium this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps - a track that Kimi Raikkonen labels "the ultimate test of driving"

McLaren aims to bounce back

Raikkonen was forced to retire for the seventh time this season in Hungary, while team-mate David Coulthard failed to make the top eight after making a too conservative tyre choice. This stymied McLaren's amazing turnaround in form since the introduction of the MP4-19B at Silverstone.

"We believe that Spa Francorchamps is a circuit that will play to the strengths of our current package," said Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren's CEO. "With its fast, sweeping characteristics it is very different in nature from the Hungaroring's tight and twisty feel. Spa is renowned for high rates of attrition and offers a long lap, with technical corners and a relatively low grip surface."

Raikkonen said: "Of course Hungary was disappointing for me and the team, but you can't look backwards in motorsport and it only makes us more determined at the next event. I have only had the opportunity to race at Spa on two occasions during my career, and both times I enjoyed driving the circuit as its nature demands that you push the limits to the maximum, with certain corners such as Eau Rouge where you are completely flat out.

"The circuit is the ultimate test of driving and also the car, as it's very demanding and requires the maximum from every part of the car. The only downside is the unpredictable weather, it can start raining with no warning or it will be wet conditions on one side of the track and dry on the other, which can make for some interesting events."

Team-mate Coulthard added: "The Belgian Grand Prix is a clear favourite for the drivers, teams and fans alike. It is an event packed with history, atmosphere, a legendary circuit, and it is great to be back. My victory here in 1999 is without a doubt a highlight of my career.

"In preparation for the race, some additional modifications have been made to the Bus Stop chicane, with safety in mind. The entry has moved to the right to allow for a larger run-off area, with some additional re-profiling to the second section of the chicane. This has traditionally been an overtaking opportunity, so it will be interesting to see if it has affected this in any way."

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