Martin Whitmarsh says that both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton are "raring to go" ahead of the start of pre-season testing.

12721 - McLaren pair 'raring to go' - Whitmarsh

Following a difficult winter testing campaign in 2011 when the MP4-26 looked clearly off the pace, McLaren was left playing catch-up to Red Bull and was unable to provide a stern challenge in the drivers' and constructors' championships. This year's tests have therefore taken on an added importance, and Whitmarsh told the official Formula One website that both drivers would have the same opportunity to get the most out of the new car.

"As you'd expect, with pre-season testing as restricted as it is nowadays, our race drivers will be doing as much as they can," Whitmarsh said. "Both Jenson and Lewis will consequently be spending a lot of time in Spain over the next few weeks, and both of them are raring to go. We're fortunate that we have two world champions in our driver line-up - a claim that can be made by no other team - and McLaren's ethos has always been, and remains, to treat both its drivers as equal number-ones. That's what we've always done, that's what we'll do this year, and as long as I'm around that's what we'll always do."

Speaking specifically about the new car, Whitmarsh said that not knowing how competitive the other teams will be made any progress hard to judge.

"At this time of year, before testing has begun, you never know how well your car is going to perform relative to its principal opposition. And I'm well aware that Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes AMG, as well as all the other teams, are working just as hard on their 2012 cars as we are. But, bearing in mind that unknown variable - in other words the performance of our competitors' cars - all I can say with any certainty is that the MP4-27 is a logical evolution of the MP4-26, adapted to the new technical regulations, and that from what we can discern its development is going in the right direction."