Norbert Haug has played down concerns about a less than shining pre-season for McLaren's Mercedes-powered MP4-24 car.

Norbert Haug has played down concerns about a less than shining pre-season for McLaren's Mercedes-powered MP4-24 car.

Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 title with its predecessor, but the new single seater seemed off the pace at recent winter tests, while McLaren set tongues wagging by switching between specifications of rear wings.

But Haug, in charge of Mercedes' racing programmes, said appearances of a lack of pace are the frustrating results of only minor problems.

"Whenever the track conditions were the fastest and the best times were set, our car was always in the box (pits)," the German insisted to Auto Motor und Sport after last week's Jerez test.

Meanwhile, while rivals including Ferrari, Toyota and Red Bull have particularly impressed this winter, title-chargers BMW-Sauber have been more difficult to read.

Red Bull's Mark Webber observed last week: "Last year they went to Melbourne and 'bang' were very, very quick, but they didn't show much in testing."

 

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