Haug justifies late Mercedes GP launch

Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director. Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday 20 February 2011.

Norbert Haug

Feb.1 (GMM) Mercedes GP will not stun the Formula 1 world with a secret 2012 innovation, insists motorsport boss Norbert Haug.

The German marque’s competition boss is referring to the fact that the Brackley based team is holding back its new car – the W03 – until the second test of the forthcoming winter pre-season period.

Most other teams will unveil their cars at Jerez early next week, leading some experts to surmise that Mercedes must be holding back a secret innovation so that its rivals have less time to copy it.

But Haug insists there is no “sensational reason” for the decision.

“Last year we were very early and we paid for it by having a fairly unsophisticated car,” the German is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

“Now we have set a development schedule so that we can work on any problems before they happen,” added Haug.

He said the decision to delay a new car is common among the top teams.

“Red Bull and McLaren have done it (in the past) as well,” insisted Haug.

At Jerez next week, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will drive the 2011 car, fitted with some development components.

“But there is nothing spectacular,” warned Haug.

Much more spectacular could be McLaren’s new model, with a team member saying on Tuesday that in some areas the MP4-27 skirts close to the regulations.

“Lots of talk about McLaren’s radical new car and dramatic, visible, design tweaks,” said Daily Mirror correspondent Byron Young on Twitter.

The same team member, McLaren Applied Technologies managing director Geoff McGrath, also suggested Sebastian Vettel drove better than Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton in 2011, before the story was removed from a popular British website.

The Mirror’s Young added: “McLaren PR been doing some behind-the-scenes firefighting in the build-up to the car launch (on) Wednesday. Hope the car’s as good as the PR moves.”