January 9, 2008 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has presented the team’s 2008 Formula 1 car at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. The MP4-23 was completed just in time for the event where drivers Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were joined on stage by Pedro de la Rosa and fellow test driver Gary Paffett to unveil the car.
About 700 Mercedes-Benz employees from the nearby manufacturing plant Stuttgart-Untertürkheim attended the presentation alongside the more than 400 media and other guests.
The car is now being transported to the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain, where on Wednesday 9th January Heikki and Pedro will start the test programme with two MP4-23 chassis at a private test. The team will remain at the circuit for five track days, excluding the weekend.
Lewis Hamilton (whose birthday coincided with the launch this week) will drive the 2008 car for the first time on Thursday 10th January alongside Heikki: “The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-23 is the coolest birthday present you can get, well it is for me anyway", said Hamilton. "To see the car for the first time at such a great place as the Mercedes-Benz museum makes it an even more memorable day. I have had the past three weeks off and spent the time training and relaxing with family and friends. I know how much work has been going on in Woking, Brixworth and here in Stuttgart and it is a great looking car. My engineer has told me that approximately 14,000 manufacturing man hours have been involved to produce the car in time for today. I will be testing it for the first time on Thursday. It is going to be a busy time but myself, Heikki, who I welcome as my new teammate, and everyone within the team is looking forward to it as we push forward together.”
MP4-23 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
See the McLaren site for further information.
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