Vodafone Mclaren-mercedes Team Hits New Era

By: Jenny Mclane

The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team is expected to spread out the thrill and the excitement in the race track this weekend. This will be the team's very first time to invade the track in its new era. Fernando Alonso, Double and his equally famous teammate Lewis Hamilton, have completed their pre-season test programme with the MP4-22s. The test programme covered over 13,300km before arriving in Australia. Fernando and Lewis completed 10,200km while Pedro dela Rosa, another famous racer, covered 3,100km.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team infrastructure arrived in Australia by sea freight during the week commencing 26th February, having left the McLaren Technology Centre on 10th January. This was followed by the air freight. On the 11th of this month, the team arrived with Fernando arriving in Melbourne on the 12th and Lewis on the 14th.

Upon arrival in Melbourne, the first task given to the team is to find the freight and start the process of setting up the necessary facilities like the garage and office areas. The few days spent were full of fun and stimulation. On Thursday, Fernando and Lewis will join Pedro for a team event at a beach front restaurant in Melbourne, before arriving at the Albert Park track to walk the track with their engineers and partake in the first technical meeting of the Grand Prix.

The team has spent time during the winter season with Fernando and Lewis familiarizing everyone and building one solid unit. The phase was more like a process of learning and having two new drivers to add element of motivation.

"Having spent the winter getting to know my new team and new car, I feel really at home and am very motivated to start racing. I always enjoy Australia, there is a great atmosphere and I am excited to get out there and see where we are compared to the other teams," said Alonso. "There are a lot of new things in the sport this season such as new rules, all teams running on Bridgestone Potenzas, drivers changing teams. Everyone is starting from zero and it is going to make things very interesting. Am I going to go out at Albert Park and win my first race with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes? We are certainly going to push hard to try."

Both drivers have been working closely with their race engineers during testing at the McLaren Technology Centre. Alonso is working with Mark Slade and Hamilton with Phil Prew. During the Grands Prix, Fernando will have Steve Hallam as his contact on the pit wall and then Lewis will be speaking with Richard Hopkirk. Car racing parts are also checked to ensure maximum performance. These cars may not be mated to product lines but the power is remarkably better.

"Taking to the grid Australia is the end of one journey for me and the start of an even bigger one. I have been working incredibly hard towards this moment over the past few months, testing, physical training, working with the engineers at the McLaren Technology Centre and studying the regulations," Hamilton said. "I feel I have the experience I need and I definitely feel ready to get out there. This year will be a learning curve for me, Albert Park is one of the seven new tracks I'll be racing on, but it is not a huge problem more an exciting challenge. I have always enjoyed street circuits, so it is great to start my career in Formula 1 with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes here."

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