McLaren deny rumours about launch

Fri, 14 Jan 10:53:00 2011

McLaren have played down suspicions that the comparatively late launch of their 2011 Formula One car could be because they had something special to hide.

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The Mercedes-powered team, winners of five races last year with former champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, have set a February 4 launch date in Berlin, after the first pre-season test in Valencia.

Other front-running teams plan to roll out their new cars from day one, with Ferrari unveiling theirs earlier than anyone at Maranello on January 28.

"It's always been in our plans to launch it after the first test," McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe told reporters in a teleconference on Thursday.

"One of the reasons was that we wanted to make use of the first test to work with...a stable and known platform while we understood the new tyres. It also gave us a bit more time in the programme for the new car.

"So it's always been planned that way. It's just a plan we arrived at and one we considered optimal in race preparation overall."

Mercedes-powered Force India have also cited the new Pirelli tyres as a reason why they are bringing out their new car after the first test.

However Renault team principal Eric Boullier said at the Autosport International show in Birmingham that there other reasons.

"You never know the reasons behind it. It is obviously a strange decision, it could be a strategic decision as well," he told autosport.com.

"They have maybe tried to bring some very funny new systems, like they did last year, and they maybe need more time to manufacture them."

McLaren, overall runners-up in 2010 behind Red Bull, pioneered the use of the so-called 'F duct' last season - a device used by the driver to alter the flow of air over the rear wing and increase speed on the straights.

Reuters

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