Apr.24 (GMM) Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa has played down suggestions that the absence of Fernando Alonso has hurt the McLaren team in 2008.
Following the departure of the former double world champion at the end of last year, Ron Dennis' team selected Heikki Kovalainen to race alongside fellow second-season racer Lewis Hamilton this year.The new driver pairing has coincided with a slump in performance for the Anglo-German outfit, as BMW now challenges its mantle as the top team alongside Ferrari."We are below our normal level, and that is why we are so determined to do better in Barcelona," de la Rosa is quoted as saying by Spanish newspapers.Asked specifically if the absence of Alonso's experience is hurting McLaren, de la Rosa added: "I do not think so."It is not something that is directly proportional."It is true that BMW has surprised us a lot, but we have proved on many occasions that we are very good at developing the car throughout the season."