McLaren Mercedes team boss Ron Dennis has admitted that today's debut of the new MP4-18, will be about system checks, not going for quick times.

The MP4-18 has been billed as the Woking based team's answer to the new Ferrari, the F2003-GA, which made its race debut at the Spanish Grand Prix, at the start of this month.

Dennis told news agency Ananova: "The first tests are going to be virtually unrelated to performance. They are going to be system checks.

"There are a range of measurements we want to take to verify data so we are not expecting nor intending to go to Paul Ricard expecting to set quick times.

"We will quickly be able to race it from a components point of view but we'll race it when we feel comfortable with its reliability and performance."

McLaren 'third' driver, Alexander Wurz will give the new car its first run today, while simultaneously the team runs with the 'old' MP4-17D in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix, on June 1st.

Dennis continued: "We believe that the new car reflects a lot of fresh thinking in terms of attention to detail, packaging and materials used in its construction.

"The timing of the new car's launch also reflects a different approach to the way to go Formula One racing. The rules stability means that we do not necessarily have to design a new car at the start of each season any longer.

"This has given us a longer research and development period which was previously fixed as a 12-month cycle.

"We have developed powerful technical tools which enable us to predict what we believe are realistic expectations of the new car's potential. Although Formula One is governed by very tight and specific technical regulations and finding such a quantifiable edge becomes more difficult and demanding each year."