Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday suggested McLaren's pre-season lack of pace may have been overstated -- even by the British team.

Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday suggested McLaren's pre-season lack of pace may have been overstated -- even by the British team.

In the run to next Sunday's Australian grand prix, it has emerged that the MP4-24 is not a world-beater, reportedly suffering from aerodynamic flaws.

But while the works Mercedes squad has been quite open about its winter struggle, F1's 78-year-old chief executive floated the theory that an element of sandbagging may have been in play.

"I think you will find that they are still very competitive in Melbourne," Ecclestone told the Sunday Telegraph.

He added that he believes the Woking based team is "not at all" in serious trouble.

"Let's put it this way, there's been no need for them to show that they're quick," the Briton added.

But while McLaren's Melbourne form may be unclear, Ecclestone does not think the astonishing test pace of the former Honda team Brawn GP has been a false guide to the 2009 season.

"Now they aren't sandbagging or joking," he said.

 

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