Newey says design cycle could shift

McLaren technical director Adrian Newey believes that the yearly design cycle in Formula 1 could shift permanently in the light of Ferrari and McLaren delaying the debut of the their respective 2003 contenders

Newey says design cycle could shift

Barring some exceptions, F1 designs have traditionally been raced from the start of each new season. Ferrari, however, has set the trend of missing at least the season-opener with its new design (it took until Spain to christen the F2003-GA), while McLaren looks set to debut its new car later this month - which Newey says is likely to be used at the start of next year too.

"I don't think [the MP4-18] will [contest] just eight races," he said. "It's difficult to say whether it [the change in attitude to racing new designs] will become standard. But I'll be surprised if we have a brand new car out at the start of next year. Certainly we haven't started planning anything yet. I refuse to start planning or starting work on a new car until we've raced this one!"

The trend towards flyaway races at the start of the season - such as Australia, Malaysia and Brazil - has heralded this switch in approach towards having new cars ready for the opening race. BAR has also said it will not have a new chassis ready at the start of next year.

Newey admitted that McLaren could have a new contender ready in time for the 2004 season opener, but added: "The chances are it won't have enough of a performance benefit to be able to justify it."

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