Mclaren Picks Up The Pace

James DunfordCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2009

The 2009 testing season is coming to a conclusion, and there are just two teams remaining at Jerez, Williams being one of them, and Mclaren Mercedes being the other.

Through the first half of winter testing, the Woking based team was showing significant pace. They were the fastest on several occasions, and were the second team to launch the new car. After this however, things did not look quite as rosy after the glitzy ceremony had faded into the memories.

The week commencing the 9th of March gave the fans and media the first chance to see all the 2009 cars on track. Even the newly named Brawn GP had made it to the Spanish track, ready for a full week of testing.

As testing got under way, Brawn GP were fast, which was not too surprising considering the time that they spent on the car, but much faster than everyone else.

The other surprise was the pace of the MP4-24. Mclaren was languishing at the bottom of the time sheets and spent most of the week in the same place.

This week testing has resumed, but with much fewer cars, and there appears to be a bit of a surprise. After most of the other teams had left, Mclaren suddenly picked up the pace, and set the third fastest overall time this year.

Had they been sangbagging? Even the team admitted they were slow, so what changed?

No one can really pinpoint quite what happened, but all of a sudden the car is quick. Mclaren had been seen using the 2008 spec rear wing, even as late as February, to compare data of the two. A green "paint" look-alike substance also appeared on the car to help them understand the airflow.

The new aero package seems to have helped them greatly, but whatever it is, Mclaren is no longer at the back of the pack, and are right up there.

One thing that is for sure, is that no one can predict who will come out on top at Melbourne, but what is certain is that Lewis Hamilton has a fighting chance.