STUTTGART: McLaren-Mercedes remain on schedule to present their new Formula One car despite a serious crash involving test driver Alexander Wurz, Mercedes sports chief Norbert Haug said on Wednesday.
Haug said the crash would not affect development of the car or its debut some time this season.
Although it was “no help” to have one car less for testing “I believe that we can stay with our plans”, he said.
Meanwhile Wurz was in “good shape” after severely damaging the new MP4-18A at the Jerez circuit in Spain on Tuesday. Finland's Kimi Raikkonen also crashed the car in testing in Barcelona the week before last.
Haug said Wurz was not taken to hospital following the crash but given a check-up at the medical centre at the circuit.
The cause of the crash was “driver error” by the Austrian and not mechanical failure, Haug said.
McLaren had been planning four days of parallel testing in Jerez involving its two new cars and one of the old models. Raikkonen continued the test drives on Wednesday in the new car, while the damaged car was sent to McLaren headquarters in Woking, England.
With Raikkonen now overtaken by world champion Michael Schumacher in the drivers' standings, McLaren want to get the new car into action as soon as possible to improve their chances against the Ferraris.
Haug, however, denied reports he had forecast the car could be ready for the European Grand Prix at Nuerburgring in Germany on June 29.
“We will only introduce the new car when it is as reliable as the previous one and quite a bit faster,” he said. – dpa