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McLaren's new car unveils June 29
May 24, 2003 17:25 IST
McLaren's new Formula 1 car is likely to make its race debut in the European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on June 29, according to the team's managing director Martin Whitmarsh.
"There is a target to go racing at the European Grand Prix but we will manage the risk by making the decision nearer the date," he told BBC radio on Friday.
The new MP4-18 made its first track appearance this week at the Le Castellet circuit in southern France with Austrian Alexander Wurz at the wheel.
The Nuerburgring is a home race for McLaren's engine partners Mercedes. The team have already ruled out running the car in Monaco next week.
Whitmarsh said there were inevitably some teething problems but nothing major with a car that McLaren, with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen leading the championship, hope will be able to challenge the new Ferrari.
"Fortunately so far they've been of the variety which are frustrating and annoying, but they are not large dramas. We'll fight through those fairly quickly," he said.
Ferrari introduced their new car in Spain at the beginning of the month and world champion Michael Schumacher has won both races it has started so far.
But Whitmarsh said McLaren remained confident.
"Whilst their new car is clearly a very, very good car, it hasn't moved the game on significantly as far as we can see so far," he said.
"Maybe in two races it's too early to say but it certainly doesn't appear to have been a big jump forward. We've got every expectation that we can make a step.
"We aim to give them a fight this year. Hopefully we can prevail. If we don't then we're going to be even stronger next year," he added.