McLaren Shake Down the MP4/19

McLaren's much anticipated car, the MP4/19, made its track debut today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with David Coulthard at the wheel.

McLaren Shake Down the MP4/19

McLaren's much anticipated car, the MP4/19, made its track debut today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with David Coulthard at the wheel.

McLaren were forced to cancel their plans to launch a new car in the middle of the 2003 season after the testing of the MP4/18 proved troublesome. The team, which finished third in the Constructors' Championship, ran a highly modified 2002 car, the MP4/17D. Rather than continuing the development of the MP4/18, the team then decided to rename the project MP4/19 and concentrate on a new solution for next season.

The design of the MP4/19 has required the incorporation of a number of new FIA Formula One technical regulations for the 2004 season. The single engine rule, which limits each driver to one engine per race weekend, marks the most fundamental change. Consequently, the Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q V10 is a completely new design, to meet the extended use requirements for the 2004 Formula One World Championship. The team said the new engine is more compact than its predecessor, producing centre of gravity benefits. The Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q ran on the dyno for the first time on 31st July 2003.

The revised regulations have also led to the MP4/19 carrying a rear wing restricted to a maximum of two horizontal elements, and an increased engine cover size. Other key visible design differences of the MP4/19 include the relocation of the radiator exit and a top exit exhaust.

"The team is pleased that the preliminary shakedown of the MP4/19 has taken place at this early stage in our preparation for the 2004 Formula One World Championship," said Martin Whitmarsh, Managing Director. "This timeframe will allow us to fully maximise our pre-season test and development programme, and therefore help to meet our aim of arriving at the 2004 Australian Grand Prix with a technical package that is capable of sustaining a consistent challenge for both World Championships. This is of course of particular importance given the current points system. We are now looking forward to seeing how the MP4/19 performs over the coming weeks."

Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, commented: "Being able to test the car we have built for the 2004 season before the end of the year, will certainly help us reach our targets. From 2004 onwards Formula One will be a tougher challenge than ever. Only one engine will be permitted per driver, car and race weekend - a change in the regulations that sets the bar really high. No engine manufacturer will be satisfied aiming for less power than in 2003, but at the same time we all face the task of at least doubling the engine's life. Early and extensive tests are going to help both engine and chassis stand up to these new challenges."

Adrian Newey, Technical Director, added: "Although the MP4/19 incorporates significant carry-over from the MP4/18, and the findings gathered from its development programme in 2003, we have also had to take into consideration new technical regulations, which have led to some additional change alongside this progression. A further focus of the design team on this front has been the modifications to the chassis to integrate the new Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q engine into the package.

"The design process of the MP4/19 has seen a continued and fruitful collaboration with all our Technology Partners, which allows us to tap into a wide range of specialist technologies at the forefront of their individual fields that pay dividends to the West McLaren Mercedes team. For example, we have an extremely close relationship with Michelin and recent development work undertaken by ExxonMobil into the Mobil 1 fuels and lubricants we use has seen excellent results.

"At the shakedown this week, we are primarily focusing on evaluation of various systems, components and the aerodynamics, before the start of the comprehensive test programme in early December. At this early stage, we are currently operating one MP4/19 chassis, and consequently will continue component evaluation with the MP4/17D alongside the new programme in this three week period."

"It is positive that we have been the first team to run our 2004 car today," concluded David Coulthard. "Obviously as this is the initial shakedown, we are focusing on familarising ourselves with the MP4/19, and running various evaluations that are required when a new car takes to the track. The team and our Partners have been working very hard to get the MP4/19 on track today, and this has provided us with the bonus of as much circuit development time as possible before Christmas. Initially the MP4/19 feels good, it seems to have great potential and it is a further step in comparison with MP4/17D."

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