McLaren Mercedes boss Ron Dennis says that the competing teams have to continue working together to safeguard the future of the sport.

Speaking on the main stage during the annual Autosport International show at the NEC in Birmingham, Dennis was quizzed about whether or not the sport is going enough to improve cost-efficiency at the time when the global economic market has entered a dramatic slump, and he admitted that competitive differences needed to be put to one side for the sake of the sport.

"We have some extremely competent people behind the commercial future of grand prix racing and they are all focused on the global financial situation," he said. "Although teams are fiercely competitive, for the first time in the sport's history we are putting aside our differences for the sake of our businesses and the sport."

Heading into the 2009 season, McLaren - like the rest of the field - will be forced to deal with the challenges of a new car and the KERS system, but Dennis said work was progressing well ahead of the launch of the MP4-24 next week.

"2009 is going to be a challenging season so we're looking to do as much work before the first race as possible," he said. "A grand prix team is just the tip of the iceberg. We have research groups working on scientific disciplines beyond aerospace. These days, you have to have a lot more expertise but it is still very much a human effort."

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