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de la Rosa gives new McLaren first run.

The new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24 has taken its first tentative steps after test driver Pedro de la Rosa completed a handful of laps around the Portimao circuit following its launch.

With the distinctive new machine, which complies with a series of radical new regulations being instigated for the 2009 season, charged with defending Lewis Hamilton's world title, de la Rosa completed 18 laps in total.

Setting a best time of 1min 28.719secs, de la Rosa was already underneath his best lap from the pre-Christmas tests in Portugal, where he ran a hybrid car with elements of the new slick-shod machine.

Handing over the car to Hamilton and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen later in the week, de le Rosa was certainly encouraged by the early impressions of the MP4-24.

"It's always an exciting moment when you get behind the wheel of a brand new car for the first time - and, given the extent of the rule changes we've addressed over the winter, today was more tense than usual.

“However, I'm happy to report that the car behaved just as we believed it would from our data and we carried out a number of runs, gaining in confidence as we ran through a number of systems checks.

"Obviously, we have yet to really push the MP4-24 to its limits and we will start running more laps on Monday but this was a constructive start and has given us some confidence.

“Given the limits on testing this year, it's now essential that we work productively in order to develop the car ahead of the first race of the season. We have a busy few weeks ahead of us but everyone within the team is really looking forward to the work ahead."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
(from right:) Gary Paffett, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa pose with the new McLaren MP4-24   [pic credit: McLaren]
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Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 F1 launch, [Credit: McLaren]
McLaren MCL32, McLaren-Honda, [Credit: McLaren]
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Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.

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rich ard

January 19, 2009 5:13 PM

dbl. it would be expected that it would be faster than an interim car. if it wasnt, mclaren would have to be worried. the only initial comparison that would have any relevance, would be the comparison to other teams running to the same fuel load etc.

Calvin _

January 19, 2009 6:09 PM
Last Edited 354 days ago

I said this last year and I'll say it again this year. Times in pre-season testing don't mean anything. The only time that will matter is lap one of Melbourne in March because until then, all the teams will be running their own set of pre-determined tests and these are unlikely to co-incide on track to give us any meaningful times. Add to that varying track conditions, that mean times on the same track from day to day may not even be comparable. Until then, we'll have to satisfy ourselves commenting on how ugly or not they are. Melbourne is when they'll all be on the same strategy. Racing to win. Let's just hope that those front wings make it past the first corner.

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