McLaren MP4-18A fails second crash test

Further delays look like making the MP4-18A the McLaren team's official 2004 challenger, not 2003. A second crash test failure this week has not helped the targeted debut of the car - at the Italian Grand Prix in September - although according to managing director Martin Whitmarsh the latest problem is not serious

McLaren MP4-18A fails second crash test

"There are four structures on the side of the car," he explained. "The regulations require that the energy absorbed by each independent structure shall be no more than 35 percent but one of the structures absorbed 35.1 percent.

"It was a very marginal failure. Obviously we were disappointed but I don't think it's one that's going to give us any undue problems. The survival cell itself was completely undamaged."

Fortunately for Whitmarsh and his team there will be time during the August testing ban to go over all the calculations again but with just two races remaining (in America and Japan) after the Italian Grand Prix, when is the cut-off point for racing the car in 2003?

"I guess it becomes unfeasible when we ship the cars to Japan," Whitmarsh told journalists at Silverstone. "But I think it will race. We are saying now with the self-imposed testing ban that it's not appropriate to introduce it before Italy.

"We've got a test at the end of the ban in Monza and we'll be taking the car there. We'll decide after that test if we are comfortable with the reliability and performance."

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