The next generation of the McLaren MP4-19 had its first track outing at Silverstone testing yesterday but the team has not yet decided when it will make its race debut. McLaren has suffered an appalling start to the 2004 season, plagued by engine...
The next generation of the McLaren MP4-19 had its first track outing at Silverstone testing yesterday but the team has not yet decided when it will make its race debut. McLaren has suffered an appalling start to the 2004 season, plagued by engine failures and other problems, and is currently sixth in the constructors' standings with only five points.
Kimi Raikkonen was second fastest at Silverstone in the B spec MP4-19, just five hundredths down on Renault's Fernando Alonso. The test was hampered by poor weather conditions but McLaren was fairly pleased with the results. "We did what we could considering the weather without experiencing any major problems," said chief executive Martin Whitmarsh.
"Hopefully the weather will improve so we can go through our planned testing programme. The car appears to be a step in the right direction, but it really is too early to say anything more."
McLaren will continue to test this week and the outcome will decide if the 19B is race worthy yet. "No decision has been taken about the possible race introduction of the MP4-19B as it all depends on the progress we make during testing," said Whitmarsh.
The new car is all very well but, as David Coulthard reportedly said, 'unfortunately it's still got the same engine'. McLaren suffered no less than three engine failures over the European GP weekend, the first demoting Coulthard to the back of the grid and the two subsequent failures putting the Scot and Raikkonen out of the race.
The 19B is not an entirely new car but features a revised nose shape and monocoque, as well as changes to the aerodynamics and engine cover. "It's an updated car so virtually all the mechanical parts are the same but from the bodywork perspective it's heavily updated and that involves some changes to the monocoque shape," said technical director Adrian Newey.
The car is expected to make its race debut at the German Grand Prix at the end of July, but could be in action as early as Canada if this week's test is successful.