McLaren Aim for 'Quantum Leap' in 2003

McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis has insisted his team will make a "quantum leap" and catch runaway rivals Ferrari after their own poor performance made the Italian team look better than they were last season.

McLaren Aim for 'Quantum Leap' in 2003

McLaren-Mercedes boss Ron Dennis has insisted his team will make a "quantum leap" and catch runaway rivals Ferrari after their own poor performance made the Italian team look better than they were last season.

Former World Champions McLaren were emphatically beaten by the red Ferrari steamroller last year as German Michael Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello helped themselves to 15 victories in 17 races.

McLaren have delayed the launch of their 2003 machine until at least four races into the coming season in an effort to make the significant advances required to catch up. Dennis believes the Italian team are not as good as they look and says his team's tactics of launching their car late could just be the way to end the Ferrari dominance.

"We can do a lot better than we did last year, and I think it was our lack of performance that made them look great," Dennis told ITV. "It was a pretty unsatisfactory performance from our team as a whole and we made them a lot better than they were.

"The goal now is to make a quantum leap and that is not easily achievable in a short amount of time so that is why we are taking longer to develop next year's car. The new car should be a much bigger step."

Ferrari scored the same amount of points as the rest of the field put together and they are expected to make another jump in performance this year as they strive for a fifth consecutive world title.

McLaren started the season off the pace but some significant backroom changes in the middle of the year brought the Woking-based squad back to the fore again and pressure on engine partners Mercedes to up their game this season could help the team get back on track.

Dennis believes Briton David Coulthard and Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen could still take the fight to Schumacher this year.

"David is mature, focussed and competitive and Kimi is everything we could have hoped for," he said.

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