Woking based McLaren could present a ‘new identity’ for 2007 at the event in mid January even before confirming the identity of Fernando Alonso’s teammate, according to reports.
‘AS’ newspaper writes that contenders Pedro de la Rosa and Lewis Hamilton are likely to still be unaware of their exact roles at the Mercedes-powered team until a mere few weeks prior to the season opener at Albert Park.
Both men are expected to be signed for 2007, either as race or test driver.
Referring to 21-year-old rookie Hamilton, the ‘AS’ report read: “The Englishman is good, but he has not caused the same sensation as he did in GP2, where there is an overabundance of pay drivers.
“He will not race next to Alonso in 2007 if he does not prove over the winter that he is better than de la Rosa.”
It is understood that both racers will be put through the most decisive head-to-head tests in January and February, after the launch of the new MP4-22.
“Ron Dennis has looked after this boy (Hamilton) since he was 13,” ‘AS’ continued. “He is not going to put him on a track only to be destroyed by the world champion (Alonso).”