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McLaren launch 2009 challenger

The McLaren team on Friday unveiled their new challenger for the 2009 season, the Mercedes-powered MP4-24

As the Ferrari and Toyota unveiled so far, the new McLaren's look is dominated by its very wide front wing and very narrow rear one.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said the new regulations have forced the team to work evern harder to get the car ready.

"Of course it is the same for every team so we can't say the challenges are any less demanding for the competitors," said Dennis. "Extensive rule changes require extensive amount of work - these are the biggest rules changes we have seen in 15 years.

"That requires the technologists in our organisation, they are not just engineers but scientist with high qualifications, to go back to a plain piece of paper and conceptualising what the fundamental requirement are for the regulations.

"It is there you can get it wrong because if you get it wrong no amount of development can sort it out. What you see in the MP4-24 is a car correctly conceptualised.

"At the same time you are trying to make a good looking car, that is a value we put high, if it looks good it goes good, so what you see is a tremendous outcome from a lot of people, it is a credit from not just the technologists but the other people, this is a fully running car that can run on a circuit tomorrow.

"But this is a second car, the first is already at Portugal, so we feel we are in a good position to attack the time up to the first grand prix. It will be a critical time because it will set the baseline for the rest of the season."

Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug said the company had never had to work so hard.

"I think it was one of the most challenging winters," said Haug. "We have a frozen engine but the rpm changed to 18,000 and KERS is brand new. This is a lot of work that was put in the right direction.

"The guys were working very, very hard, flat out, and the amount of work in Brixworth and Stuttgart we have never had before, and the same at Woking - it is a dramatic rule change and a complete new set of rules and I think these guys created a fantastic car. Hopefully we will see the first good results tomorrow."

The car sports the number one following Lewis Hamilton's championship-winning campaign last year.

"This is the first time I've seen it fully put together and it looks beautiful," said Hamilton. "The team manages to always put together a stunning car and it's great to see the final outcome of the work that has gone on."

Teammate Heikki Kovalainen added: "I echo Lewis' thought. It looks great. Whatever the regulation changes are the team have managed to make a beautiful car."

The new car will be shaken down by test driver Pedro de la Rosa tomorrow.

"The first day of a brand new car is a very interesting day for all of us and an exciting day," said the Spaniard. "As a I said at last year's launch I am honoured the team gave me the chance and responsibility considering the amount of work.

"We have to do the first laps and start working from there. It is the usual work of the shakedown day - it is going to be a very hectic test schedule before Melbourne and I hope with my experience I can help the team.

"It is the ninth package I can drive so I can say I am experienced. Hopefully this experience is worth it."

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