Kimi Raikkonen will get his first taste of the McLaren MP4-19 at the Jerez circuit in Spain next week, when testing resumes after the Christmas break. Raikkonen missed out on driving the new car in the December tests due to recovering from minor surgery on his wrist, but is now ready to see what McLaren's 2004 challenger can do.
Both David Coulthard and team test driver Pedro de la Rosa broke lap records with the 19 in the pre-holiday tests. McLaren is the only team so far to have a new chassis on track so it's not possible to say how it measures up to rivals' new cars.
"Is it quick enough to win a grand prix?" Coulthard said after breaking the lap record at Valencia with the 19. "That's the question and we just won't know until we get to Melbourne and see what everyone else can do."
McLaren has not yet confirmed a launch date for the new car and neither has rivals Ferrari. Williams is set to be the first to reveal its 2004 contender at Valencia on January 5th.