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McLaren had decided to follow the lead of Ferrari and will start next season with a revised version of this year's car. In addition to a revised Mercedes engine, the interim car, which will carry the name of MP4/17D, will feature a heavily revised gearbox and rear end.

"We know there's more to come from what we've got,” related McLaren boss Ron Dennis in explaining the decision. “It makes a lot of sense to have as much maneuvering time to find what we need, which is a quantum step. Incremental steps are not going to end the Ferrari domination. We have to take significant steps, and that means time."

Team technical director Adrian Newey agrees that the long-term competitiveness of his new MP4/18 design will be improved by waiting for its reliability to be proven.

"It will not be ready in time for the start of the season—or not soon enough to be sure we have had enough time to be happy with reliability," Newey told the BBC. "So, we have decided to take advantage of that when it comes to making decisions about the design of the new car.

"What this says is that we want to go about winning individual races. It means it will be extremely difficult to win the championship, but let's try to get some points early in the season and then be absolutely competitive as soon as we can."
 
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