McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has said that the team will be testing a number of new parts during Friday practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

9520 - McLaren plans new parts for China

Having been Red Bull's closest challengers in the first two races of the season but finished second to Sebastian Vettel both times, McLaren are looking to close the gap even further. To this end, Whitmarsh says it will have new components on the MP4-26 in China, citing the development race as the key to success this season.

"Coming just a week after Malaysia, it's essential that we maintain the thrust of our development programme in order to further close the gap to the front," Whitmarsh said. "To achieve that, we'll be spending Friday evaluating a number of new components alongside our regular tyre and set-up programmes. We have a number of new parts that we want to evaluate on Friday - either for potential incorporation into our programme for the Shanghai race, or as part of longer-term development strategy. The development race is where this year's world championship will be won or lost."

Jenson Button, who finished second in Malaysia, said that if the team can keep the pressure on Red Bull then it would be more prone to mistakes, but felt it was not just a two-horse race.

"Off the back of two successive podium finishes for the team, we're not only hopeful of maintaining our finishing record, but of improving it too," Button said. "We've made no secret of our desire to take the fight to Red Bull, and we're fully aware that stronger opposition will make it harder for them to have a smooth and uninterrupted weekend. As we expected, Malaysia showed that the sharp-end of the grid is incredibly competitive, and that there are at least four teams that can expect to fight for the podium this weekend."