FEBRUARY 19, 1996
But so is the McLaren
Although initial reports suggested that the nice-looking car was a development of the disastrous 1995 model, team boss RonÊDennis stressed that this is a completely new car. He said that while a normal new car would have 25% carry-over from the previous year, this had 7.5%.
Initial evaluation work was done by Alain Prost - who admits that he is not as quick as he used to be - and it was left to Mika Hakkinen to give the car its first flat-out testing. The Finn set an impressive best of 1m21.50s - which would suggest that not only he but the car are both on the pace. Further testing for Hakkinen and Coulthard is due throughout this week.
On the sponsorship front, McLaren has retained Marlboro, Mobil, Mercedes Benz, Boss, Loctite and Goodyear, but ABAC air compressors and Courtaulds have pulled out. There are no new sponsors.