McLaren to release 2008 car in January

Mon, 5 November 2007, 08:35

McLaren’s 2008 car, to be driven by Lewis Hamilton and a mystery teammate, will be released by the Woking based outfit in “the second week of January”.

Team boss Ron Dennis divulged the information on Saturday afternoon at engine and equity partner Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Cars and Stars’ end of season event in Stuttgart.

The January release date is a few weeks after FIA scrutineers present their report about the legality of the single seater, as per the ruling of the World Motor Sport Council earlier this year in the espionage saga.

The FIA will consider the matter and the scrutineers’ report at a meeting on December 7.

“We will do everything we possibly can to make sure that neither of the McLarens has any element of Ferrari intellectual property in it. Or, if it does, we will then have to consider taking some sort of action,” FIA president Max Mosley said recently.

A McLaren spokesperson reacted: “We have no comment other than that we will cooperate fully with the FIA.”

In Stuttgart, meanwhile, Dennis added that the team has been working on the MP4-23 since July, and is now “focused” on 2008 despite only recently finding a conclusion to the Fernando Alonso saga.

“We are very optimistic that we will again be very competitive,” he added.

Dennis insists that even the spectacular falling out in 2007 with F1’s only current world champion will not sway his philosophy of offering equal number one status to both drivers.

Hamilton revealed at ‘Stars and Cars’ that Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil and Heikki Kovalainen are frontrunners for the sister seat next year.

Dennis said: “We are a team, and if someone does not want to play his team role, then he should not be part of the team.”

The Briton’s comments come amid speculation that Alonso has been threatened with legal action should he comment adversely about McLaren now that he has secured his release for 2008.

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