Hamilton to Make F1 Return in January

Lewis Hamilton explained his absence from this week's Jerez testing meeting by the fact that he doesn't want to be physically exhausted before the season opener in Melbourne. The McLaren driver was the only 'big name' in the F1 roaster to miss the Jerez meeting in the mid-week, suggesting that the time off will help him reach an optimum form when heading to Australia.

“I've learned from last season that I did so much at the beginning and the end of the season that I had nothing left in me really. I am surprised I was even ready for the first race. So I am managing it better this year, and making sure I rest up. I've just started training again, and I'm not doing the testing this year. I will do the testing next year when the new car comes - and I am looking forward to it,” Hamilton was quoted as saying to

The F1 champ is set to test next year's car as early as January 2009, as he will switch directly to the MP4-24 car. The last time he was in a McLaren cockpit was when he won the world championship, at Interlagos. However, the new car will feature a totally different aerodynamics, as well as benefiting from the the newly-developed KERS unit and Bridgestone slick tires.

“It is a new challenge for everyone to see who pulls out on top, and who does the best job. I have every confidence in my team that they will be able to do that, and it will be amazing to do it again. But just to be competing I am very proud,” commented Hamilton on what the new season might bring to the table.

While the young Brit is still enjoying his vacation away from Formula 1 action, his team McLaren Mercedes have already tested two of their novelties for the upcoming season. Team's test driver Pedro de la Rosa concluded a 3-day test on the KERS unit & new aerodynamic package (nose and front wing) in the MP4-23 car, while racing driver Heikki Kovalainen focused on getting used to the new slick tires.
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