McLaren are confident of heading into the new Formula One season without any cloud of suspicion hanging over their new car. That sentiment comes in the wake of a confirmation from Christian Horner, the Red Bull Racing team boss, who said he has asked for clarification over a slot in the rear wing of the McLaren that reduces drag, and so increases straight-line speed. Horner has also suggested Ferrari joined him in voicing their objections to the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).
However, McLaren said the Italian team have so far stayed silent. With the opening practice session of the season in eight days' time in Bahrain, a McLaren spokesman said: "We're very confident our car is entirely legal - and we're not aware of any protest. In fact, we've spoken to Ferrari this morning, and they're not aware of any protest either." Even Horner said McLaren would not be forced to dispense with the part as his team are already in the process of preparing something similar. "There's a bit of a fuss over McLaren's rear wing," he said. "They have a slot on it and they can pick up a lot of straight-line speed.
"We've asked the FIA for clarification, although I think Ferrari are probably more excited than we are to be honest. "Our question ultimately will be: 'Is it clever design or is it in breach of the regulations?' They must be very confident that it's legal. I would think it will be legal." Meanwhile, 12 teams will take part in this season's championship following the withdrawal of US F1's entry. The Serbia-backed team, Stefan GP, had hoped to take their place, but their hopes have seemingly been ended by the decision not to allow any late entries into the championship.
HRT or Hispania Racing Team have named Karun Chandhok of India as their second driver. He will partner Bruno Senna, and the team principal, Colin Kolles said: "We have been very impressed with Karun's performance in GP2." * With agencies