McLaren-Mercedes CEO, Martin Whitmarsh has said they are feeling 'cautiously optimistic' ahead of the Italian Grand Prix this coming weekend.

McLaren dominated testing last week at Monza, where all the teams were preparing for the 13th round in the 2007 FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the penultimate European event of the season.

Indeed Lewis Hamilton set the pace on day 1, while Fernando Alonso was quickest on days 2 and 3. McLaren tester, Pedro de la Rosa then kept the Woking-based outfit top on the fourth and final day on Friday.

As such Ron Dennis' men have every reason to think they can do well, not that Whitmarsh is underestimating the challenge that will surely come from Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa - both of whom will be eager to do well, especially as it is the Scuderia's home event.

"Whilst we are arriving in Monza leading both Championships, we are more than aware they are both still very open," Whitmarsh warned.

"There are a lot of points to be won over the next six weeks and the determination within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to take as many as possible is massive.

"Monza is very individual in terms of characteristics and with this in mind, the test last week has enabled the successful proving process of a number of key components and we are feeling cautiously optimistic going into this race."

Mercedes boss, Norbert Haug meanwhile has revealed that Alonso and Hamilton will both have fresh power-plants for this event - and both drivers' will be keen not to push their V8's too hard, as they will have to do the Belgian GP with the same engine in one weeks time.

It will be the toughest test of the season for the V8s: "As scheduled, we will start in Monza with a new engine in both cars, which, according to the rules, is designed to be used in Spa as well," Haug continued.

"The combination of these two circuits is the highest expected strain for an engine so far since the new V8 engine generation has been introduced last year. Our tests in Monza last week have been very positive though; we have been fast, consistent and reliable," he summed-up.

 

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