After giving the MP4-18 a shakedown test at Paul Ricard the previous week, McLaren decided to push the new car to its limit during a private test at the Circuit de Catalunya. However, the test programme was brought to a premature halt when Kimi Raikkonen escpaed injury when he crashed the car heavily in the final corner.
"I just lost control, just dropped a wheel and then went off on the last corner," he told a press conference at the Canadian Grand Prix. "I didn't hurt myself and you can always fix the car. That is the main thing," he added, implying that the shunt was a substantial one.
The team had targeted the European Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring on June 29 as the car's debut but technical director Adrian Newey has suggested that the British Grand Prix is more of a realistic deadline for solving reliability issues.
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"We have said since we released the car that the Nurburgring was the earliest we thought we could race it," Newey said. "I think we will probably take the prudent view that it is a little bit early. But we haven't made that decision yet.
"The problem is that after the Nurburgring you have Magny-Cours the week after, which puts the debut back to Silverstone," he added.
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