With just to pre-season test sessions left before things kick off in Bahrain, one rather seriously unanswered question surrounds the performance of McLaren’s very radical Is the McLaren MP4-26 too clever for its own good? MP4-26 challenger.

Despite its unusual design – most notably featuring some of the most bizarre sidepod cut-outs ever seen – the Jerez test “did not show how competitive” the new machine actually was, according to a report in Italy’s Autosprint magazine.

Reports from inside the team’s garages claim that the technicians were so busy tinkering with the new car that little attention was paid to other sections of it, such as the adjustable rear wing.

Certainly, photographs taken at the Jerez test showed vastly different configurations of the MP4-26 being run, particularly with respect to its exhaust, diffuser and engine cover layouts.

“The risk is that they have bitten off more than they can chew,” the report added.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport seemed to argue that the car was perhaps too radical for its own good.

“Almost nothing on this McLaren is conventional,” the report reads. “[It’s] first test produced more questions than answers. McLaren have showed courage, but perhaps too much.”

[Original image via Sutton Images]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.