Mercedes begins testing MP4-18

The all new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-18 will test for the first time tomorrow at the hands of Alex Wurz at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France. The much-anticipated debut of the car will involve systems, aerodynamics and component evaluation. The team will also be working on testing the reliability and speed of the car to make sure everything is up to par with their expectations. Depending on how well the three day test session goes will indicate when the new car will make it's race debut, although this should not be before the Canadian GP in June.

The MP4-18 integrates many new differences including a shorter and lower nose, a more tightly packaged rear and small dorsal fin shaping to the engine cover. The most notable difference is the new Mercedes-Benz engine, the FO 110P V10, which has been lowered inside the car creating benefits for the center of gravity.

David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen will also be at the track, working on further development of the MP4-17D along with the teams' fourth man, Pedro de la Rosa. Once initial testing is complete with the MP4-18, Wurz will step down allowing Coulthard and Raikkonen to get acquainted with the new car.

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