McLaren F1 Launchposted in F131 | 01 | 2013

    McLAREN LAUNCHED ITS 2013 F1 challenger, the Mercedes-powered MP4-28 at the team's headquarters today, and admitted it was an 'ambitious' concept with great development potential (see more official photos from the launch of the 2013 McLaren F1 car).

    While many other teams are expected to introduce evolutions of their 2012 cars, ahead of the major regulation changes for 2014, McLaren has opted to be more adventurous.

    "When you have small regulation changes, do you do something conservative or do something more ambitious?", Jonathan Neale, the team's managing director, said at the unveiling.

    "On this occasion we have chosen to be more ambitious.

    "We believe that rather than run out of gas in the middle of the season it gives us more development potential."

    And team boss Martin Whitmarsh is in no doubt McLaren will start the season in even stronger than it ended 2013 when it won the final two grands prix in America and Brazil.

    "We finished last year with undoubtedly the quickest car," he said. "We could have continued to develop that car and found some performance.

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    "In changing things you inevitably step back, but this car is already quicker than the car we finished last year with. In all that we are looking at, this car is responding very well.

    "We had a detailed technical review yesterday and you cannot help coming out of this thinking we have a competitive car.

    "Our competitors are off the radar screen and you cannot rule out them having a Eureka moment, but we are pleased with where we are with this car today and this car will look different before the season."

    Meanwhile Jenson Button, who is joined by Sergio Perez at McLaren this year, believes his issues with qualifying will be solved thanks to the change in Pirelli tyre specification.

    "Qualifying at times last year was not good at all," the former world champ said. "I still go back to it being the issue that I have had in my career in terms of getting my tyres working and in the working range.

    "I don't know why that is — I must drive differently to everyone else on the grid. We have learned a lot from last season and we have made steps forward.

    "We also have a tyre in 2013 that does help me. It has a much wider working range so I am not fearful of those issues again.

    "We start the season with a clean slate and fighting for pole position at each race and fighting for a win at each race."

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    Jim McGill


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