McLaren appear to have made progress at Jerez, as Kovalainen smashes team's Jerez benchmark

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    McLaren appear to have made progress at Jerez, as Kovalainen smashes team's Jerez benchmark

    Post by Ross on 18th March 2009, 15:25

    McLaren finds speed at Jerez

    McLaren appeared to make a much-needed step forward in performance at Jerez on Wednesday as Heikki Kovalainen lapped almost a second faster than the team had managed so far this week.

    After the Woking squad’s top brass admitted last Friday that it was unlikely to be competitive enough to fight at the front in the season-opening grand prix in Australia, McLaren has faced a crucial final week of pre-season testing as it tries out a raft of new aerodynamic modifications on its car.

    Lewis Hamilton had been unable to get within a second of either Fernando Alonso's (Renault) or Jenson Button’s (Brawn GP) benchmark times on the previous two days, with his best lap standing at 1m19.121s.

    But Wednesday’s session, which saw just McLaren and Williams continue in action, was far more encouraging for the team with Kovalainen topping the times on a 1m18.202s – moving the MP4-24 to within 0.4s of Brawn’s Tuesday pace.

    With conditions continuing to prove both very warm and sunny – and therefore the ideal testing ground for the opening flyaway races – Kovalainen completed 85 laps with McLaren describing its evaluations of the aero updates as “extremely productive”.

    The Finn will continue in the car for the final day of pre-season testing on Thursday.

    Williams put 103 more laps on its FW31 with Kazuki Nakajima lapping in a best time of 1m20.023s.

    The Grove squad also returns for Thursday's final day.

    Testing times from Jerez (Wednesday 18 March)

    1. KOVALAINEN McLaren 1m18.202s
    2. NAKAJIMA Williams 1m20.023s


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