Prior to the launch of McLaren’s 2007 challenger – the MP4-22 – test drivers Pedro De La Rosa and Gary Paffett spoke to the press about their experiences of the car so far. Pedro subbed last season for the early departed Juan Pablo Montoya, and almost equalled the Colombian’s points haul after stepping up the race team at the last minute. For 2007 though, team principle Ron Dennis has chosen the up and coming star and GP2 champion Lewis Hamilton. Paffett has served the McLaren team in testing duties for a long time, and was in the frame for Lewis’ drive before the powers that be decided to go with Hamilton.
1. Pedro, what does it mean to you to be launching the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in your home country?
It is extremely special to be launching the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team in my country for two reasons: first, because I am Spanish and it is a honour that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have chosen my home country in front of my people. Second, because we are launching the team with Fernando, a fellow Spaniard and World Champion for whom I have a great respect.
2. How are you looking forward to working with Fernando and Lewis?
Fernando is the first World Champion I have ever worked with. That, for me, is already a huge extra motivation. With Lewis we have already worked together in 2006 and get on well.
Here is what Gary Paffett had to say regarding the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-22:
1. What are you thoughts on the MP4-22?
I haven’t seen much of it yet but it sounds very promising. Over the winter testing we seem to have a stronger package than we did this time last year so I can’t wait to see what the MP4-22 can give us.
2. How have preparations been progressing with the MP4-22 at the McLaren Technology Centre and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines?
We have been doing a massive amount of simulation work at the McLaren Technology Centre since the middle of last year, and we feel the development is going really well. HPE have a good understanding of the V8 engine and they seem to be making some fairly big steps forward.
The McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 will be launched later today.