McLaren Launch MP4-26 in Berlin
The McLaren team were in Berlin on Friday morning to launch the MP4-26. The team launched the new car in a quirky way, as the live streaming from the official McLaren website began with McLaren fans making their way to Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, where the launch was taking place, carrying different parts of the new car, which when they arrived they passed to the McLaren engineers who had already wheeled out the basis of the new chassis in front of the awaiting media, which they then began to construct. The lucky fans were chosen after the team launched a competition via their social networking account a couple of weeks ago. Once the mechanics had finished, McLaren drivers' Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton emerged to add the final pieces, including the steering wheel. Speaking about the launch idea to mclaren.com, team principal Martain Whitmarsh said: “I think today’s innovative launch demonstrates the enthusiasm within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to engage the general public; to show them that our sport is intense and exciting, and that we’re very keen to showcase Formula 1 to the wider world." “I’m hopeful that Formula 1 stands poised on the cusp of an incredible new era." Whitmarsh continued. “With Lewis and Jenson, we have two of the most exciting, charismatic and high-profile personalities in the sport, and the whole team feels a powerful sense of responsibility to provide them with the very best machinery with which to showcase their very evident talents to the world. McLaren decided to wait until after the first pre-season Formula 1 test to unveil its new car. Instead choosing to use an interim MP4-25 to focus on tyre development and understanding at the Valencia pre-season test this week. Speaking at the launched Jenson said: "This is our new baby, the car we hope will take one of us to the drivers' championship and the team to win the constructors'. It's beautiful." Whilst Hamilton added: "We'll be quite a bit more competitive than we were last year," The new McLaren features some intriguing aerodynamic innovations, most noticable are the air intake on the sidepods, which are a shape never seen on an F1 car before. They are double the height on the outside of the car than it is where the intake meets the cockpit beside the driver. McLaren said the U-shaped sidepod front was an attempt to get more airflow to the rear wing, thereby increasing aerodynamic downforce Other features include, a long flat high nose, a novel engine cover design, which includes two air inlets. Plus, the front wing features a series of very dramatic shapes. Although, the car unveiled today featured a more standard exhaust system than expected, after there was speak that the new McLaren would feature an innovative exhaust design similar to that of the new Lotus Renault GP car launched in Valencia earlier this week. Speaking about the MP4-26 design Martin Whitmarsh added: “The MP4-26 is the result of an incredible amount of hard work, innovative thinking and dynamic teamwork. Under the leadership of Paddy Lowe [technical director], Tim Goss [director of engineering] and Neil Oatley [director of design and development programmes], our design department is more integrated than ever: in fact, I’m particularly proud of the contributions made by our project engineers, many of whom have taken on leadership roles for the very first time and who have worked so well together to create this very striking and individual-looking car." Whitmarsh is now hoping that the MP4-26 can build on the tremendous record the team holds in Formula 1, but added that Formula One “is so unpredictable and finely pitched at the moment that it’s impossible accurately to forecast the state of play until the season starts next month. That’s a tantalising prospect for Formula 1’s many millions of existing fans – and, I hope, something that will attract many millions more by the end of what looks set to be an absolutely fantastic year.” Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ also announced today that test driver, Gary Paffett will shake down the new MP4-26 during a private session at the Idiada Proving Ground in Spain on Tuesday before the team begins track testing at the Circuito de Jerez on the 10th February.