New McLaren hits the track

McLaren's new MP4-19 has broken cover for the first time in Formula 1 testing at Valencia today (Tuesday). David Coulthard shook down the 2004 machine this morning in Spain

New McLaren hits the track

The car looks very like its predecessor, the unraced MP4-18, but McLaren technical director Adrian Newey says there are significant differences.

Newey said: "Although MP4-19 incorporates significant carry-over from 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 FO110Q V10 engine also has links to the MP4-18, which had its predecessor fitted in the back. That engine was said to have had problems both with its power output and vibration.

Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug commented: "We had teething problems with the P engine [in MP4-18]. That will be the baseline for 2004, when we will run the Q engine."

Newey explained the new car's initial programme: "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."

Coulthard took the new car out for the first time this morning at Valencia and is scheduled to spend the day at the wheel.

The car has stopped on the circuit once this morning, and we'll have more news later.

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