Less than a month before the 2011 season begins, one major unknown is the likely performance of the new McLaren car.
Specialist reports in Italy (Autosprint) and Germany (Auto Motor und Sport) say the British team’s MP4-26 will be the most radical car on the Bahrain grid.
But according to Autosprint, the recent Jerez test “did not show how competitive” the silver car will be.
McLaren’s former long-time team coordinator Jo Ramirez was in the pits in Spain and he reported that technicians were so busy with the car that there was no time to experiment with the adjustable rear wing.
Instead, the team’s focus was on testing different fundamental configurations, including the layout of the exhausts, the diffuser and the engine cover.
“The risk is that they have bitten off more than they can chew,” said the report.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport agreed: “Almost nothing on this McLaren is conventional.
“The first test (at Jerez) produced more questions than answers. McLaren have showed courage, but perhaps too much,” added the report.
Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Ferrari are very fast. It’s more difficult to know where McLaren and Mercedes are.”