McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said that he is proud of the effort his organisation has put into the new McLaren MP4-25 that is due to be unveiled this Friday.
The wraps will be taken off the car at Vodafone’s UK headquarters in Newbury this Friday, and it will enjoy its first run at the Valencia circuit on February 1.
“During the development of MP4-25, we set ourselves some very high targets – and I’m enormously pleased with the way our designers and engineers have tackled the approach to the new car,” said Whitmarsh.
“The new regulations have obviously had an effect on the car’s appearance, with the much higher-capacity fuel tank looking more striking than before.
“But we’re pleased with a number of solutions we’ve been able to bring to the car, and I think we’re cautiously optimistic that, after the experience of last year and, in particular, the momentum we gathered in the second half of the season, we’ll have a competitive car for both Jenson and Lewis.”
Whitmarsh demurred, however, on the topic of whether he thought the car would be competitive.
“Is it a championship contender? It’s still far too early to say. Will it win races? We certainly hope so. Am I proud of the effort we’ve currently invested in the car? Most definitely.”
The Englishman acknowledged that Pedro de la Rosa’s departure had affected the testing schedule, but that development would nevertheless continue apace.
“Obviously, Pedro [de la Rosa]’s decision to sign with Sauber will have a slight impact on our test programme, but we’ll overcome it. We’re very happy that Pedro has got a race drive for 2010 he’s been a great asset to our team and, above all, a very dear friend to all of us.
“As has become customary with most teams, the first tests will be about establishing a baseline of performance, allowing the engineers and mechanics to learn and understand the new car and the impact of the new regulations.
“And, as in previous years, we’ll introduce a series of upgrades at one of the later tests, and that will be the car we take to the opening race.”