McLaren MP4-19 completes first shakedown 25 Nov 2003
McLaren became the first team to run their 2004 car on the track on Tuesday, when David Coulthard completed the first laps in the new MP4-19 at Valencia in Spain.
"Obviously as this is the initial shakedown, we are focusing on familiarising ourselves with the MP4-19, and running various evaluations that are required when a new car takes to the track," said Coulthard. "Initially the MP4-19 feels good, it seems to have great potential and it is a further step in comparison with MP4-17D."
The design of the all-new car has required the incorporation of a number of new FIA Formula One technical regulations for the 2004 season. The single engine rule, which limits each driver to one engine per race weekend marks the most fundamental change.
Consequently the Mercedes-Benz FO 110Q V10, which first ran on the dyno at the end of July, is a completely new design to meet the extended use requirements. According to McLaren, the new engine is more compact than its predecessor, producing centre of gravity benefits.
The revised regulations have also led to the MP4-19 carrying a rear wing restricted to a maximum of two horizontal elements, and an increased engine cover size. Other key visible design differences of the MP4-19 include the relocation of the radiator exit and a top exit exhaust.
McLaren's preparations for the 2004 season have also seen the appointment of Nicholas Tombazis as Chief Engineer Aerodynamic Development, in a move that further supplements their already strong design team led by Technical Director Adrian Newey. Tombazis, formerly Chief Aerodynamicist at Ferrari, will join the team in April 2004 working alongside Peter Prodromou, who remains as Head of Aerodynamics, also reporting to Newey.
McLaren's three day session at Valencia this week will be followed by the start of the team's full pre-season test programme at Barcelona and Jerez in the first two weeks of December, with Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen supported by third Driver Alexander Wurz and test driver Pedro de la Rosa. Only one MP4-19 chassis is currently operational and the team will continue to use the MP4-17D for component evaluation.