McLaren rolls out 2017 F1 car
The team is entering the third year of its reunion with power unit supplier Honda, having taken ninth in the 2015 standings and sixth last season.
McLaren has undergone changes ahead of the current campaign, with Zak Brown replacing Ron Dennis, while Jenson Button has stepped aside, allowing Stoffel Vandoorne to partner Fernando Alonso.
The MCL32 also features a different color scheme compared to McLaren‚Äôs recent challengers, with an orange, black and white livery.
The car will be put through its paces for the first time on Monday, when pre-season testing begins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
"Within McLaren-Honda, there‚Äôs a tangible feeling of progress, of change," said Racing Director Eric Boullier.
"This year‚Äôs rules reset is a valuable opportunity for us ‚Äď it will allow us to make progress with what we feel is a well ordered and clearly defined chassis-engine package, and hopefully to narrow the delta between us and the front-running teams.
"It‚Äôs the result of a huge amount of work from a team that has really developed together over the past few years. The chassis is incredibly well realized, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel, we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that‚Äôs already blending really well.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a feeling around the factory that we‚Äôre about to turn the corner. Our relationship with Honda has blossomed ‚Äď there‚Äôs a real sense of comradeship to what we do now ‚Äď and I think we‚Äôre all very excited about what we can achieve together this year."
A stunning new color scheme that harks back to the team‚Äôs 1960s roots, a restructure in senior management, a new race driver, and a set of challenging but exciting new technical regulations all frame the genesis of McLaren-Honda‚Äôs newest Formula 1 challenger, the MCL32.
The MCL32 follows in the evolutionary footsteps of its two immediate predecessors, MP4-30 and MP4-31, but it has been overhauled in every area as the design team has looked to capitalize on a series of new aerodynamic regulations introduced for 2017.
Most strikingly apparent is the MCL32‚Äôs new color scheme, which blends old-school McLaren history with contemporary thinking on vehicle livery design. The MCL32 has been exclusively painted by long-term partner AkzoNobel Sikkens, in Tarocco Orange, a custom McLaren color with a pearl sparkle, and a contrasting satin black and gloss white finish.
The new coloration is a particularly crowd-pleasing touch, intended not only to revisit McLaren‚Äôs past but also to kick-start a fresh chapter in the team‚Äôs history.
Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, says:
‚ÄúThe launch of a new Formula 1 car is always a time of anticipation and expectation.
‚ÄúAt McLaren-Honda, we‚Äôre fully focused on returning our team to the top step of the podium ‚Äď a task we view as a multi-year project that requires thorough strategic planning and execution.
‚ÄúHaving analyzed our corporate culture and structure with great care and attention, and having consequently made important improvements, we‚Äôre now confident that all the building blocks are in place, and that we now have the expertise, the experience, the energy and the enthusiasm successfully to make the journey back to the front.
‚ÄúWe knew changes were required ‚Äď and, now, with Zak [Brown], Jonathan [Neale] and Eric [Boullier], and of course our drivers Fernando [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne], backed by a superb team of men and women in both Woking [UK] and Sakura [Japan], we‚Äôre fully equipped to tackle this year‚Äôs exciting changes to the Formula 1 regulations, and, in addition to that, we‚Äôre already liaising strategically with the new owners of our sport, Liberty Media, to improve its spectacle and success.‚ÄĚ
Mansour Ojjeh, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, adds:
‚ÄúOver the past few months we‚Äôve been working extremely hard to prepare for the new Formula 1 season ‚Äď from every point of view ‚Äď and the first visible output of that massive effort is a car that looks fantastic in my view.
‚ÄúIts color scheme incorporates a significant nod to our team‚Äôs founder, the great Bruce McLaren, but it‚Äôs deliberately not orange all over. The black stripes and white trims not only add to the overall aesthetic effect, but also reference more recent color schemes as well as the traditional corporate color of our much-valued power unit partner, Honda, whose engineers have been toiling night and day over the past few months.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve been involved in Formula 1 far too long to make precise performance predictions ‚Äď more than 30 years ‚Äď but I can say without fear of contradiction that we‚Äôre now in a very good place: we‚Äôve got the right people, with the right attitude, motivated by the right kind of collaborative ambition, and we‚Äôre ready to continue to work as hard as is humanly possible to do what it takes to succeed.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm proud of them all.‚ÄĚ
NEW SENIOR MANAGEMENT
While much may have changed on the surface, the core McLaren philosophy of ultra-hi-tech and attention to detail remains undiminished, and the new partnership of Executive Director Zak Brown and Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale has underlined and galvanized that ambition, supported very capably by Racing Director Eric Boullier.
Together, led and inspired by the Executive Committee, they have ushered in a wind of positive change to the McLaren Technology Centre, inspiring and empowering the workforce with their passion for the brand and their determination eventually to return McLaren to the top step of the podium.
Zak Brown says:
‚ÄúMcLaren has always been the team in Formula 1 for me, and I‚Äôm massively motivated to be able to help re-establish the team where I firmly believe it belongs: at the very pinnacle of Formula 1.
‚ÄúAssisting us reach that goal will be a fantastic group of partners that have supported us throughout the years, ranging from long-term collaborations with SAP and Johnnie Walker, through to our newest partnerships with Castrol and Stratasys, both of which have been announced this year. I want to say on behalf of the entire McLaren-Honda team: a massive thank you to all our partners for all your amazing enthusiasm and support.
‚ÄúIndeed, I‚Äôm hugely encouraged by the amount of attention this year‚Äôs McLaren-Honda launch has garnered, and by the number of our partners in attendance ‚Äď not only at the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre in Woking [UK], but also at our concurrent event in Tokyo [Japan], which is taking place at a Hilton hotel; Hilton is one of our partners, of course.
‚ÄúTo everyone who has given us their support, today is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass of Chandon, which is another one of our partners, to celebrate the launch of our new car.‚ÄĚ
Jonathan Neale adds:
‚ÄúIt has been a challenging winter for us as a leadership team, but there‚Äôs a great sense of purpose and enthusiasm throughout the business this year, and that applies not only to the McLaren Technology Group but also to our power unit partner Honda. Together, we‚Äôve assembled a formidably capable team, but we still have work to do in order to fulfil our true potential. Together with our staff, the Board of Directors, and with the guidance and support of our Executive Committee Principals, we‚Äôre working extremely hard as we continue to put the essential elements of future success in place.
‚ÄúThe journey ahead isn‚Äôt going to be easy, and I‚Äôve emphasized that to everyone. We‚Äôve made progress in the past 12 months, but we‚Äôre not where we need to be and we expect on-track competition to be fierce. To win in Formula 1 requires any competitor to be good at everything. Thoughtful but relentless pursuit of excellence is required.
‚ÄúSo, do I believe we‚Äôll be back at the front this year? Realistically, probably not quite yet, no. But do I think we‚Äôll continue to make meaningful improvement as a team? Absolutely. And that‚Äôs our aim: to make progress by establishing the proper and correct, if sometimes difficult, changes that are needed to go forward.
‚ÄúWe can‚Äôt predict where that will leave us ‚Äď particularly on the eve of a new season of regulatory upheaval and uncertainty ‚Äď but as a team we have many talented and driven individuals and we‚Äôre restless about continuing to do whatever is needed to make us competitive.‚ÄĚ
For Racing Director Eric Boullier, the ambition is clear:
‚ÄúWithin McLaren-Honda, there‚Äôs a tangible feeling of progress, of change. This year‚Äôs rules reset is a valuable opportunity for us ‚Äď it will allow us to make progress with what we feel is a well ordered and clearly defined chassis-engine package, and hopefully to narrow the delta between us and the front-running teams.
‚ÄúThe addition of a striking orange and black paint job reinforces the notion that we‚Äôre moving away from what immediately preceded it, but it‚Äôs the engineering detail on the MCL32 that really impresses me. It‚Äôs the result of a huge amount of work from a team that has really developed together over the past few years. The chassis is incredibly well realized, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel, we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that‚Äôs already blending really well.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a feeling around the factory that we‚Äôre about to turn the corner. Our relationship with Honda has blossomed ‚Äď there‚Äôs a real sense of comradeship to what we do now ‚Äď and I think we‚Äôre all very excited about what we can achieve together this year.
‚ÄúTechnically, in 2017 man and machine will be pushed to the absolute limit, owing to higher speeds and more severe braking. All our partners and suppliers have done a great job, but I want to mention Akebono, one of our team‚Äôs long-standing technology partners, who have developed all-new brake calipers and brake systems to cope with the increased loads and forces that will face Fernando, Stoffel and the MCL32.‚ÄĚ
Stoffel Vandoorne says:
‚ÄúThis is the moment I‚Äôve been waiting for my whole life. My preparation has been long, intense and meticulous. I‚Äôve spent the winter training ferociously hard, I‚Äôm fitter now than I‚Äôve ever been, and I‚Äôm raring to get going. This is my opportunity. And I‚Äôm ready.‚ÄĚ
For Fernando Alonso, there is little left to prove in a glittering career, but that does nothing to halt the competitive spirit:
‚ÄúI think there‚Äôs a lot to admire about what we‚Äôve achieved over the past 12 months. Sure, the results haven‚Äôt really showcased it, but we‚Äôve really made progress, and I think the whole team has gelled together through those difficult times. Now, at a moment of significant regulatory change, we need to capitalize on that period of uncertainty to push forwards ‚Äď and I‚Äôm confident that we‚Äôve got the expertise to do just that.
‚ÄúWhat I‚Äôve seen of the MCL32 appears to be really promising ‚Äď the new regulations seem to be well thought-out, and the cars look fast and aggressive. The look of the car makes me really want to get in the cockpit ‚Äď I‚Äôve lost none of that all-important hunger every Formula 1 driver needs. Training over the winter has gone well ‚Äď I worked really hard ‚Äď and I can‚Äôt wait to get going in the car as I say.
‚ÄúWe still think the start of the season will be a challenge ‚Äď we can‚Äôt ignore the fact that we‚Äôre still coming from a significant step behind the current front-runners ‚Äď but I‚Äôd like to think we can target the second half of the year as a time when we‚Äôll really be able to start making useful performance steps. The aim is to look respectable this year ‚Äď and I‚Äôd like to think we can achieve that.‚ÄĚ
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda‚Äôs Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer, sums up as follows:
‚ÄúBased on our two years of acquired experience and constant progress, Honda has made big changes to the concept and layout of our 2017 power unit, the RA617H.
‚ÄúThe main areas of change that we focused on has been to decrease the weight and lower the center of gravity, so as to improve the balance of the car, while generating more output from the ICE [internal combustion engine].
‚ÄúAlso, owing to the new 2017 regulations fundamentally affecting the design of our new car, Honda has made a lot of changes to accommodate the updated chassis. The team has therefore continued their hard work throughout the winter to find an ideal balance. ‚ÄúThe pre-season test in Barcelona will be very important for us, so as to learn the functionality of the car as a whole.
‚ÄúOur relationship with McLaren will continue to strengthen as we further progress technically and operationally this year, to achieve our ultimate goal.‚ÄĚ
INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINE
ENERGY RECOVERY SYSTEM
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