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McLaren abandons car upgrades for British GP

SILVERSTONE, England (AP) — McLaren has scrapped its aerodynamic upgrades for the British Grand Prix after they failed to help Formula One championship front runners Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button in practice on Friday.

McLaren had hoped that attaching exhaust blown diffusers to their cars would increase downforce and help them stay ahead in the constructors' and drivers' championship.

They have been providing a boost for Red Bull this season, helping the team secure eight pole positions in nine races in 2010.

But while Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber each topped a session on Friday, Hamilton and Button were only eighth and 13th quickest, respectively, in the second session.

Ahead of qualifying Saturday at Silverstone, the blown diffuser was abandoned after causing the bodywork of the McLarens to overheat and creating problems with the balance of the cars.

McLaren will retain its new front wing, while the diffuser could return for the German Grand Prix on July 25.

"It's slightly disappointing, but with any developments in Formula One you are trying to push things further — this was a race early," said test driver Gary Paffett, who worked with the McLaren engineers throughout Friday evening. "We will analyze why it hasn't worked as well as we thought it would and try to fix it. We will persist with it — we won't bin it."

Paffett was flown to the team's headquarters — 90 minutes south of the circuit — to drive the McLaren simulator without the new diffuser to provide data to help set up the car for Saturday.