Whitmarsh: Late Launch Will Bring Better Results
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes his team will not be at a disadvantage by launching their car after the first tests in Valencia. McLaren will launch their 2011 challenger in Berlin on the 4th February, one day after the first round of testing ends in Valencia. The team have decided that to ensure they don't miss out on valuable mileage on the new Pirelli tyres that they will take an interim version of last year's MP4-25, which will be fitted with updated 2011 parts to the first testing session in Valencia on the February 1st. "The MP4-26 is on schedule and will be launched on February 4" Whitmarsh told Formula1.com. "After which it will go through the normal testing processes," Speaking about their decision to launch the MP4-26 later, the team principal added "We feel that our timetable is optimal with regard to providing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton with the best possible package for the first race in Bahrain. And that will be just the beginning of a progressive and rigorous development programme that will continue right up until the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 27." New regulations coming to Formula 1 this year include movable rear wings, and the re-introduction of KERS, which have given the teams several new challenges. Although, Whitmarsh hinted that there had been some unique developments on the new McLaren that will make the MP4-26 stand out from its rivals. "There are new regulations for 2011 - and the MP4-26 will not only adhere to them but it will also sport a few fresh design features in response to the opportunities presented by those new regulations. So, yes, there will be some new elements, but as you can imagine I'm not prepared to add more detail at the moment!" Commenting on the teams hopes for the 2011 season, Whitmarsh added: "Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' mission is a unilateral one: to win. We won five grands prix last year, including three one-two finishes, and we came second in the constructors' championship, significantly ahead of our traditional rivals, Ferrari. But although many teams would be more than satisfied with that performance, we weren't and aren't. "As I say, our mission is to win, and winning five Grands Prix and coming second in the constructors' championship doesn't constitute enough of a win for us. It goes without saying that this year we aim to do better. As ever, it's impossible to make firm predictions, but we think we're on course to be competitive. Having said that, we never underestimate our opposition and we're sure they're working every bit as hard as we are."