Thursday, January 13, 2011

McLaren launch set for after first test

McLaren might not run its definitive 2011 car until the second winter test, having announced that its MP4-26 will be launched in Berlin on 4 February - the day after the opening test of the winter finishes.

Although McLaren has yet to reveal full details of its launch plans, the choice of date implies that it could use an interim or 2010 chassis at Valencia from 1-3 February, when testing gets underway again after the winter break.
The second test takes place at Jerez on 10-13 February.

Force India announced earlier this week that it will definitely use a 2010 machine for the opening Valencia test, but other leading teams look set to kick off with their 2011 cars.

Ferrari has promised a late-January launch for its new challenger, while Renault, Sauber and Toro Rosso have all scheduled unveilings for the start of the Valencia week.

Reigning champion team Red Bull has chosen not to run its latest car at the opening test in recent years, but is reportedly pushing to ensure that it can do so in 2011.
Should McLaren start testing with an older or interim car, it will not be the first time this winter that it has taken a different testing strategy to its main rivals.
Race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button got an early start to their post-season holidays last November as McLaren opted to use test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey for the first Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi.
The team reasoned that the tyres used for the inaugural test would change a great deal before 2011 anyway, and that Turvey and Paffett could provide a better benchmark as they had also taken part in the preceding young driver test days using Bridgestone tyres.

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