Motor racing: McLaren suffer tow-truck trauma

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The Independent Online
FIRST CAME the hype, then the hiccup as McLaren-Mercedes suffered the ultimate embarrassment yesterday as the team unveiled their new car for the Formula One season.

David Coulthard, with hundreds of photographers and reporters watching, took the all-new McLaren MP4-14 out for its track debut at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, but had to be towed back to the pits by a Nissan pick-up truck after coming to a stop on the first lap.

"We just had a electrical failure, a slight glitch, as you have with all new cars," Anna Guerrier, the spokeswoman for the world champions, said. "This was its first time on the track so you are always going to get teething problems," Norbert Haug, the head of Mercedes Motorsport, added.

Coulthard, after a delay, was able to eventually drive some test laps. He will also test the car today with the world champion, Mika Hakkinen, testing tomorrow and Thursday. The opening race in the world championship is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 7 March.

The new car is very similar looking to its predecessor, the championship- winning MP4-13.

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