McLaren Uphold Test Ban Despite New Car Problems

McLaren will respect a voluntary Formula One test ban despite possibly having to delay the race introduction of their long-awaited new car because of it.

McLaren Uphold Test Ban Despite New Car Problems

McLaren will respect a voluntary Formula One test ban despite possibly having to delay the race introduction of their long-awaited new car because of it.

"It's not a legally binding obligation. It is a voluntary code but we are not going to look for a way round it," team boss Ron Dennis said at the European Grand Prix on Saturday. "We made a commitment, we'll keep to it."

Dennis said the next test of the MP4-18 was 'critical' in deciding whether or not the car could make its race debut at the July 20 British Grand Prix, the 11th round of the 16 race Championship.

The French Grand Prix follows on the weekend immediately after the European round, leaving a week between Magny-Cours and Silverstone for testing. After that, a summer ban comes into place until after the Hungarian Grand Prix in August.

"We strongly as a team advocated for a break in the middle of the season to take the pressure off the test team mechanics and race personnel," said Dennis. "It was never designed for anything more than a three-week break, it just so happens that it's become seven."

The limited time available to test means that McLaren must either decide their new car is reliable enough to race or wait until the Italian Grand Prix in September - the 14th race of the year.

"We certainly need a new car to win next year. The big question is whether we need it to win this year," said Dennis when asked whether McLaren needed the MP4-18.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen starts Sunday's race at the Nurburgring on pole position and is just three points adrift of Ferrari's World Champion Michael Schumacher.

"We are in the fortunate position of having a very competitive car," said Dennis. "We know where (the new car is) better, we know where we would like to enhance its reliability. We know where its performance weaknesses are, its performance strengths."

"We will be very careful in the evaluation of what we do. The next racing milestone is Silverstone but there are most definitely no pressures from anybody other than the media to race the car.

"The pressures are more towards taking a cautious approach to its race introduction."

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