The new Team McLaren Mercedes 2004 Formula One car, the MP4-19, made its track debut today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with David Coulthard at the wheel. This week's three day session will be followed by the start of the team's full...
The new Team McLaren Mercedes 2004 Formula One car, the MP4-19, made its track debut today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with David Coulthard at the wheel. This week's three day session will be followed by the start of the team's full pre-season test programme at Barcelona and Jerez in the first two weeks of December, with David and Kimi Raikkonen supported by Third Driver Alexander Wurz and Test Driver Pedro de la Rosa.
The design of the MP4-19 has required the incorporation of a number of new FIA Formula One technical regulations for the 2004 season. The single engine rule, which limits each driver to one engine per race weekend marks the most fundamental change. Consequently the Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q V10 is a completely new design, to meet the extended use requirements for the 2004 Formula One World Championship. The new engine is more compact than its predecessor, producing centre of gravity benefits. The Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q ran on the dyno for the first time on 31st July 2003.
The revised regulations have also led to the MP4-19 carrying a rear wing restricted to a maximum of two horizontal elements, and an increased engine cover size. Other key visible design differences of the MP4-19 include the relocation of the radiator exit and a top exit exhaust.
Preparations for the 2004 season have also seen the appointment of Nicholas Tombazis as Chief Engineer Aerodynamic Development at McLaren Racing, in a move that further supplements the already strong design team led by Technical Director Adrian Newey. Nicholas, formerly Chief Aerodynamicist at Ferrari, will join at in April 2004 working alongside Peter Prodromou, who remains as Head of Aerodynamics also reporting to Adrian Newey.
Martin Whitmarsh, Managing director, McLaren Racing
"The Team McLaren Mercedes team is pleased that the preliminary shakedown of the MP4-19 has taken place at this early stage in our preparation for the 2004 Formula One World Championship. This timeframe will allow us to fully maximise our pre-season test and development programme, and therefore help to meet our aim of arriving at the 2004 Australian Grand Prix with a technical package that is capable of sustaining a consistent challenge for both World Championships. This is of course of particular importance given the current points system."
"We are also pleased to take this opportunity to announce the continued strengthening of our technical team, with the appointment of Nicholas Tombazis as Chief Engineer Aerodynamic Development. We believe this latest addition to the team will help to ensure we maintain the positive development impetus of the past year both in the build-up to and during the coming season. We are now looking forward to seeing how the MP4-19 performs over the coming weeks."
Norbert Haug, Vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"Being able to test the car we have built for the 2004 season before the end of the year, will certainly help us reach our targets. From 2004 onwards Formula One will be a tougher challenge than ever. Only one engine will be permitted per driver, car and race weekend -- a change in the regulations that sets the bar really high. No engine manufacturer will be satisfied aiming for less power than in 2003, but at the same time we all face the task of at least doubling the engine's life. Early and extensive tests are going to help both engine and chassis stand up to these new challenges."
Adrian Newey, Technical director, McLaren Racing
"Although MP4-19 incorporates significant carry-over from MP4-18, and the findings gathered from its development programme in 2003, we have also had to take into consideration new technical regulations, which have led to some additional change alongside this progression. A further focus of the design team on this front has been the modifications to the chassis to integrate the new Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q engine into the package."
"The design process of the MP4-19 has seen a continued and fruitful collaboration with all our Technology Partners, which allows us to tap into a wide range of specialist technologies at the forefront of their individual fields that pay dividends to the Team McLaren Mercedes team. For example we have an extremely close relationship with Michelin and recent development work undertaken by ExxonMobil into the Mobil 1 fuels and lubricants we use has seen excellent results."
"At the shakedown this week, we are primarily focusing on evaluation of various systems, components and the aerodynamics, before the start of the comprehensive test programme in early December. At this early stage, we are currently operating one MP4-19 chassis, and consequently will continue component evaluation with the MP4-17D alongside the new programme in this three week period."
"It is positive that we have been the first team to run our 2004 Challenger today. Obviously as this is the initial shakedown, we are focusing on familarising ourselves with the MP4-19, and running various evaluations that are required when a new car takes to the track. The Team McLaren Mercedes team and our Partners have been working very hard to get the MP4-19 on track today, and this has provided us with the bonus of as much circuit development time as possible before Christmas. Initially the MP4-19 feels good, it seems to have great potential and it is a further step in comparison with MP4-17D."