West McLaren-Mercedes 'third driver' Alexander Wurz has said that his team can beat Ferrari this year.

He also revealed that the MP4-17D - with, which the Woking based concern will start the 2003 season - will utilize many new parts including a heavily revised new suspension.

The new MP4-18 - the 2003 car - won't be introduced until the Spanish Grand Prix, the fifth round at the earliest, however Wurz is not concerned.

Speaking to formula news / Crash.net Brazil, the Austrian said: "We are making some good steps forward on the MP4-17 and everything seems to be working positively. We are developing the suspension and so far the results have been good."

He also confirmed that the MP4-17D would be much lighter and compact than the original, with a lower centre of gravity.

Wurz noted: "The car will be significantly quicker than that used last year. By the time we use the MP4-18 we will also have a new engine. Although all the details are secret, I can say that it is going to be a lot more powerful."

"We can beat Ferrari in 2003," concluded the Austrian. "We don't have any guarantees, but that is our target. We are not here to make up the numbers."