The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New McLaren ready for test debut

London: McLaren’s new Formula One car hits the road on Wednesday with the team hoping it will give them a big step up in their fight with Ferrari.

“This car has probably had more research put into it than any other car I have worked on,” said technical director Adrian Newey before the test debut of the MP4-18 at Le Castellet in southern France.

Newey, who has designed title-winning chassis for both McLaren and previous employers Williams, said the new car was smaller than its predecessor and had a shorter, lower nose and more tightly packaged rear.

The Mercedes engine also sits lower.

“Our simulation results look promising...but by definition simulation is not always 100 per cent accurate so we have the usual sense of excitement and expectation before running the new car,” said Newey in a team statement.

Austrian Alex Wurz will drive the car this week while race drivers David Coulthard and championship leader Kimi Raikkonen develop the old MP4-17D.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, whose team lost the overall constructors’ lead to champions Ferrari by one point last weekend, warned not to read too much into Wednesday’s test.

“The first tests are going to be virtually unrelated to performance. They will be systems checks, a range of measurements that we want to take to verify data,” Dennis said in Austria. “We are not expecting and do not intend to go to (Le Castellet) and set any quick times.”

McLaren have ruled out racing the car at Monaco next week and Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn has said he would be amazed to see it in Canada two weeks later.

That makes the June 29 European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring, a home track for Mercedes, a likely debut date.

“We will be quickly able to race it from a components point of view,” said Dennis. “But we’ll only race it as and when we feel comfortable with its reliability and performance.” (Reuters)

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