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McLaren worked through Christmas to prepare car for F1 season

McLaren abandoned their Christmas break in order to get their car ready for theFormula One season.

The British team, who last year endured the worst campaign of their glittering grand prix history, had to amend their schedule after the season-opening race in Melbourne was brought forward by two weeks.

The traditional Australian curtain-raiser had been scheduled for 3 April, but the first of a record-breaking 21-race season will take place on 20 March.

McLaren Racing’s operations director Simon Roberts said: “Our entire build programme wasn’t lined up for that so we knew we had a problem to solve. In simple terms, we put about eight shifts of work back into the programme over a five-day period – a fantastic effort.

“In total, there were about 110 people involved and we looked after our Christmas workers with a competitive package. We had a really good response, and people seemed to enjoy it too – it was a bit weird, not having all the time off, but there was a good spirit in the place. Everyone knew why they were doing it, and it really cleared the decks.

“Most pleasingly, it meant that, once we came back in the new year, we were back on schedule – and it felt like the programme had always been phased that way. It was an incredible effort.”

McLaren will break cover with their 2016 car – the MP4-31 – on the eve of the first winter test in Barcelona on 21 February. Last week the Woking-based outfit also revealed a shake-up in their management structure with Jost Capito to join their racing team from Volkswagen.

McLaren scored only 27 points last year as their renewed relationship with Honda failed to deliver on their successes in the late 1980s and early 1990s which saw the British constructor win four consecutive driver and team championships.

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Jenson Button, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Tuesday, remains with the team for his 17th season in Formula One. He will again be partnered by Fernando Alonso despite the team chief, Ron Dennis, claiming the two-times champion was considering a sabbatical.


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