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Championship depends on reliability

With the performance of Ferrari, McLaren and Williams fairly evenly matched, the championship will depend on reliability, according to McLaren team boss Ron Dennis.

Williams has come to the fore recently with some strong performances but Ferrari and McLaren certainly can't be counted out.

Michael Schumacher, Kimi Räikkönen and Ralf Schumacher are all close at the top of the Driver's standings and the Constructors' is just as fiercely fought, so reliability is going to be as important as competitiveness.

"This championship is going to swing totally on reliability because I do not think you are going to see uncompetitive cars fielded by ourselves or Ferrari," said McLaren boss Dennis. "It is going to make reliability even more critical for the balance of the season; I think we've got a great world championship."

Meanwhile, it seems increasingly unlikely the McLaren MP4-18 will debut until the Italian Grand Prix in September, if at all. The team had been aiming for Silverstone to put the new car into competition but Dennis thinks it won't happen: "My target was to introduce it at the British Grand Prix, but it will be almost impossible to do so," he admitted.

The summer testing ban means McLaren isn't likely to race the MP4-18 at Hungary in August, so the next feasible date would be Monza in September. After that there is only two more races before the end of the season. For the moment, though, Dennis is happy with the MP4-17D currently in use: "Our target is to win the championship," he said. "And I know this car is capable of winning races."

Ongoing reliability issues seem to be the reason for the delay and McLaren won't race the new car until these problems are cleared up. The team will test the MP4-18 at Barcelona this week, starting tomorrow July 8th.


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