McLaren to continue as top Michelin threat?

McLaren is hopeful that the revamped Hockenheim circuit will help in its attempts to challenge Williams for runner-up spot in the constructors' championship

McLaren to continue as top Michelin threat?

Previously, Hockenheim was a low downforce circuit with more time spent at full throttle than any other track on the calendar. As such, engine power was a crucial factor and McLaren-Mercedes would not have been expected to excel at such a venue this year.

"I think we clearly improved the package in Magny-Cours," team boss Ron Dennis said, "and we want to try to carry those improvements on for the balance of the season. I think the nature of the circuit is a little more interesting and challenging. The slipstreaming nature of the old Hockenheim was more interesting when the cars actually had the ability to take advantage of towing past each other, but they are so slippery now that such a concept tends to be somewhat in the past.

"The new circuit looks a bit more challenging for the chassis than the previous circuit and it will probably play to the strengths of our package a bit more."

David Coulthard added: "A lot will depend on gaining track position. We should have good pace in the race compared to Williams but it is not always too much good if you qualify behind them. There is sometimes so much difference between their qualifying and race speed that it's quite hard to fathom. We are making progress but whether it's enough to beat them, only time will tell."

Williams-BMW is currently second in the constructors' championship with 66 points, while McLaren-Mercedes is third, on 47.

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