McLaren - No Bahrain disadvantage

Lack of pre-season testing in Middle East not a hindrance, says CEO

McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh has played down suggestions that Ferrari will have a clear edge at the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.

Of Formula One's eleven teams, only Ferrari and Toyota decided to test at the Sakhir circuit pre-season.

But Whitmarsh is nevertheless confident that McLaren's decision to skip the trip to the Middle East will not backfire.

"Of course we would have liked to test in Bahrain but we do have to prioritise where we spend our time," Whitmarsh said.

"Over the winter we have improved the aerodynamic efficiency of the car and cooling generally so it's not currently one of our vulnerable points.

"We have good data from running at the Bahrain track in previous years so we are confident it will not prove too much of a disadvantage."

Working hard

Whitmarsh added that the team were working hard behind the scenes to improve their MP4-23 car ahead of the third round of the season.

"The focus has been on reliability after the first two races which on the circuit has been pleasing but as always behind the scenes there are lots of things you need to attend to," he said.

"In particular the pitstops and the problem we experienced in Malaysia with Lewis' right front wheel.

"We have good pace in the car and need to maintain our momentum so obviously we have continued to develop the car in the wind tunnel.

"However we are still evaluating whether we will take some of the aerodynamic developments with us to Bahrain."