McLaren to be first to launch

McLaren is on course to become the first Formula 1 team to unveil its 2004 contender - potentially giving it a crucial edge in ironing out reliability problems before the beginning of next season

McLaren to be first to launch

The outfit will run its MP4-19 at Valencia on November 25 as soon as the winter testing ban ends, according to a story in this week's AUTOSPORT Magazine. The decision is at odds with other teams which are intending to have their cars ready in January at the earliest.

Speculation that the team has ditched all the concepts of its 2003 project and is using the MP4-17D as the basis of its 2004 car is wide of the mark. Team principal Ron Dennis said: "When you see it, you will see that the MP4-18 is its mother."

McLaren built the MP4-18 for the 2003 campaign, but due to delays and uncertain reliabilty the car never raced and will instead be used as the basis for the MP4-19.

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