McLaren 'very optimistic' over new car

McLaren's director of engineering Paddy Lowe is 'very optimistic' about the progress being made on the team's 2009 car, despite predicting that the raft of radical regulation changes will make the field more open than ever next year

McLaren 'very optimistic' over new car

Fresh from seeing his MP4-23 pick up the 'Racing Car of the Year' trophy at the Autosport Awards, Lowe says he is upbeat about the efforts being made with McLaren's new challenger.

"I am very positive actually," Lowe told autosport.com. "We have got a lot of exciting things coming through to the car - some of them from new regulations and some of them which are things we were working on anyway. So I am feeling very optimistic actually.

"Obviously there is a bit of a shake-up with all the rules, as anything can happen. But the team are working very, very well, so I think wherever we end up we will feel proud of what we have done."

Lowe says that McLaren are aware that their late-season development push to win the championship may have put them at a disadvantage compared to teams who have been focussing on their 2009 efforts for some time, although he is not unduly worried.

"Inevitably that has been a concern for a long time, and we predicted that as being an area that would set back the leading teams," he explained. "But I don't know.

"You never know where the others are, you never do, and that is one of the great excitements of race one. Seeing that first qualifying session, which I love as it is the best one of the year, as you finally see where you are - and hopefully you have a good day.

"We were pushing right until the end of the season, but that does not necessarily mean we are worse off. It is a matter of how effective the team are in the winter. Just because things don't carry over doesn't mean we are further behind."

Speaking about how he sees the competitiveness of the field next season, Lowe said: "I think it will actually be more open. As we saw in Brazil, the grid was very, very close indeed and I think we will see that open up considerably with people who have got it right, and people who have got it wrong.

"I hope we are one of the ones at the front - but I think it will be certainly different from more evolutionary years we've had."

Lowe also wanted to thank Autosport's readers for voting the McLaren as their car of the year

"It's fantastic actually," he said. "I would really like to thank the readers for that. We've won it three years out of the last four - even though we have not won the Constructors' Championship.

"I cannot overstate how much this means to the team. We keep the Award on display in our office every year - last year's is still there - and it is a fantastic motivation for the team, because I tell them we are going to get it again next year. And we have.

"So that is just fantastic. The next goal is the constructors' next year, but it really it is a tremendous vote of confidence from the readers about what we have done."

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