Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton is having concerns over the lack of time allowed to test new features on his car, including slick tyres, ahead of the season launch in March.
Like all their rivals, McLaren’s latest car features a new-for-2009 aero package and slick tyres, but the teams only have seven days to practise before the season opener in Melbourne on March 29.
Having said that, the 24-year-old world champ from Luton, is got off to a good start after completing his first 81 laps of the Portimao circuit at the wheel of the MP4-24, Hamilton finished third-fastest overall.
But Hamilton said: ‘I have seven days in the car before the first Grand Prix and last year I had 20 days and the year before 25, so it’s a huge cut down, but we’ll do the best we can and try and work with the engineers and try and get ahead of other people.
‘The first test was all about just getting used to the new car and new regulations and about giving my feedback to the engineers – it wasn’t about setting a fast time.
‘I’m pleased to report that the car feels good, we’ve made lots of progress over the winter and I’m looking forward to developing the car ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
‘It’s going to be an extremely busy winter. I’ve only been in the car for one day and our usual job list for the weeks ahead is already enormous.’