Norbert Haug has admitted the new Mercedes-powered McLaren MP4-24 is currently not leading the formula one field.

Norbert Haug has admitted the new Mercedes-powered McLaren MP4-24 is currently not leading the formula one field.

With the 2009 pre-season winding down, it has emerged clearly that the team of 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton is struggling for test pace.

It is suggested that the aerodynamics at the rear of the car - possibly the diffuser or the rear wing - is the main culprit.

McLaren's recent rear wing-switching has been widely reported, and on at least two occasions now, the British team has applied green liquid dye to the MP4-24's bodywork, to trace the air-flow over the car.

"For sure we are not yet where we want to be," Haug, Mercedes' motor racing chief, told Germany's Bild newspaper.

Unlike many teams who will wrap up their test programmes at Barcelona, McLaren has scheduled a further four days of running at Jerez next week.

Given the looming in-season test ban, it is suggested that if McLaren has not solved its problems by Melbourne, rapid improvement thereafter is unlikely.

Haug said: "The test ban will make developments during the season more difficult, but by no means impossible."

Former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, warned observers against writing off the Woking squad.

"I don't know if they have problems or what they are doing," the Finn, who now drives for Ferrari, told La Gazzetta dello Sport at Barcelona.

"It is easier to wait two weeks (for Melbourne) to see exactly where people are. Certainly they (McLaren) have been less quick than in past winters but this does not mean they will not be quick at the first race."

 

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