McLaren has taken the covers off the new MP4-29 ahead of the 2014 F1 season.
The launch took place at the McLaren
Technology Centre at the team's base in Woking. The new car features a rather 'distinctive' nose and the livery is all silver following the end of the sponsorship deal with Vodafone.
Following a dismal 2013, in which the squad failed to score a single podium, and changes in the teams' management structure, with Ron Dennis
re-taking control, something that was announced last week and looks almost certain to see Martin Whitmarsh exit as team principal, it will be an important year.
“The new MP4-29, revealed today, is a sensible and calculated response to the new regulations,” McLaren
said in a statement to the media. “But it is very much a frozen snapshot of the design team's steep development curve, and, as such, a machine that will potentially undergo more technical change throughout a single season than any other car in McLaren's long and illustrious history.
“The challenge for 2014 is to build-in both performance and reliability – something that can no longer be taken for granted given the steep technical challenge ahead.
“And that is entirely as it should be: for this season will be F1's steepest-ever learning curve.
“It is also a time of transition. Our final season with our engine partner, Mercedes-Benz, will be our 20th together, before we begin an exciting new journey with Honda from 2015.”
McLaren sporting director Sam Michael meanwhile said the goal for 2014 was a simple one, namely to return to the top of the podium, although he admitted it will take time to get back to challenging for the titles.
“We've made no secret of our disappointment at how the 2013 season turned out. The aim now is to get back to winning – that's what McLaren
exists to do – but there's a certain amount of growth and re-growth that needs to take place before we return to a position where we can challenge for the world championship,” he confirmed.
“The good thing is that we've acknowledged that, and we've actually been working towards that goal for many months now. We have Honda waiting in the wings, we have a number of key technical staff bolstering our existing design and engineering teams, and we are fostering the careers of our young drivers, all of whom have an incredible amount of potential. The future for McLaren
is bright, and we're now putting in place the processes that will move us closer to our goals.
“For 2014, our aim is for continuous development; we'll be refining and strengthening the car and the organisation throughout the year, so you'll see a rapid turnover of parts and ideas on the car as we, like every team, wrestle with the many unique challenges of these new regulations. More immediately, our aim is to enjoy a smooth winter at all three tests, hopefully learning a lot as we go, and hopefully developing MP4-29 into something consistent, useable and quick.”
Michael also added that consistency will be 'key' in the first quarter of the season: “It'll be critical in the pre-season tests – firstly, to enable the drivers and engineers to learn about and understand the behaviour of the new car; but, secondly, to provide us with the mileage and data our designers at the MTC need to further refine and develop the car for the year ahead,” he continued.
“[Overall I think] it'll be a season of complexity and subtlety; we won't find ourselves in a situation where the guy who wins the first race goes on to win the championship, I think it'll be unpredictable and exciting – and that's fantastic news for F1's fans.
“One thing is for certain, though, there'll be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas during the season as the best concepts and solutions proliferate. We're proud of some of the concepts we'll be introducing with this car but, likewise, there'll be areas where we can learn and improve
“In fact, I think constant learning and improvement will be the key motifs of 2014,” he summed-up.