McLaren aim to leave Ferrari behind

McLaren aim to turn the championship fight into a straight head-to-head battle between their drivers, by opening a performance gap on Ferrari from the Spanish Grand Prix onward

McLaren aim to leave Ferrari behind

Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton are all equal on points in the lead of the drivers' championship after the Bahrain Grand Prix - the second time in history that there has been such a three-way tie. Sakhir winner Felipe Massa is also just a few points behind.

And with the four drivers all appearing to be fighting on equal terms for the title, F1 appears to be heading for a thrilling season of close racing.

But with a month's development work ahead of the teams before the next event in Spain, McLaren have made it clear that their target is to move well clear of Ferrari at Barcelona and in doing so turn the title fight into a straight Hamilton versus Alonso battle.

When asked how long he expected all four Ferrari and McLaren drivers to continue fighting on equal terms, McLaren boss Ron Dennis said: "As short as possible. We have every intention of making it as short as possible, although we don't know if we will make it that way.

"One of the things I am looking forward to about Spain is that it will demonstrate how hard our development programme has been working. We have every intention of making it a two-horse race. That is our objective."

Dennis has made it clear that both Hamilton and Alonso will be given full free reign to gun for the championship, now that it is clear both men are able to win the title.

"We think our position is the right one," he said. "Of course we want to win the world championship, and we want to win both of them.

"But we have the young pretender and the double world champion - and we owe it to both drivers to give them an equal opportunity. The only thing that would make life difficult would be if they started bouncing into each other, but the reality is that (such behaviour) is not in their character."

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