McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh says his team can't afford to be complacent about the upcoming F1 season, insisting that the new MP4-27 revealed in Woking 'only scratches the surface' in terms of what the team hopes to deliver during the year ahead.
The team won six times last season – with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton taking three victories apiece – but were beaten to both titles by Red Bull Racing for the second straight season.
Going into 2012, McLaren has now failed to win the drivers title since Hamilton was crowned champion back in 2008 while it last took the constructors title all the way back in 1998.
“The 2012 season will be an important one for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes,” he said. “Having finished second in the constructors' championship for the past two seasons, we're determined to mount a sustained, hard challenge for both world titles.
“Our engineering team continues to develop and grow: while the key names who head the department are well known – Tim Goss, Paddy Lowe and Neil Oatley – it's the strength in depth within the department that continually impresses. I'm extremely proud of our efforts to invest in and recruit young graduate engineers and to develop and school them in the ways of Formula 1.
“We have a fantastically committed team of individuals, and MP4-27 is the fruit of their labours – it's a beautiful car, and one we feel is the perfect platform from which to launch our assault on the world championship. While there are clear visual changes to this year's car, there's greater change beneath the skin, with lots of fresh thinking applied to every major system. The car is pleasingly complete.”
Whitmarsh added that he was confident that McLaren has the best possible line-up for the new season but said that the team couldn't underestimate the challenge that would come from its rivals in the coming year.
“I don't think we want for anything from our drivers,” he said. “In Jenson and Lewis, I believe we have the very best line-up in Formula 1 – the perfect blend of experience, speed and aggression. They complement each other perfectly.
“For 2012, we are well aware that Red Bull remains a very powerful and capable operation, and that both Ferrari and Mercedes AMG are ramping up their operational capacity. We have no room to be complacent – what you see today only scratches the surface of what we're planning to deliver to the track both from an engineering and operational point of view throughout 2012.
“I'm pleased and confident that we've left no stone unturned in our quest for performance. Now, our focus invariably turns to the track as we evaluate MP4-27 ahead of the start of the 2012 season in Melbourne on March 18. These will be a fascinating three weeks.”