Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has joined old nemesis Ferrari in revealing its brand new 2010 Formula One contender, with the wraps being taken off the MP4-25 by world champions Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton at Vodafone UK's stunning headquarters in Newbury.
The 2010 car looks noticeably different from last year's race-winning MP4-24, having received a radical aerodynamic overhaul and being designed to incorporate a significantly larger fuel tank to meet this year's regulations. The design team, some of whom appeared on stage at the start of the presentation, is confident that it has explored every possible avenue to maximise the car's performance, and avoid a repeat of last season's embarrassing first few races.
Engines continue to be supplied by long-time partner Mercedes, whose FO 108X V8 subtly improves upon a powerplant that has become the benchmark in F1, winning the last two drivers' world championships, with Hamilton and Button in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
The team kicks off its 2010 campaign with the first line-up comprised entirely of champions since it paired Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1989, and the first time in F1 history that the sport's two most recent world champions have been put together. However, the team is adamant that the driver line-up represents only a fraction of its remarkable strength in dept, with members of the design team that contributed to the development of MP4-25 able to trace their involvement back through an incredible seven of the team's twelve drivers' world championships, five of the team's eight constructors' titles and 112 of the team's 164 grand prix victories.
"At Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, we've demonstrated that strength in depth is the best approach to take in F1," team principal Martin Whitmarsh commented, "The group of engineers, designers and strategists we've assembled demonstrates how much can be achieved by a very focused team operating at the very limit of their abilities.
"In Jenson, we saw a champion driver hungry for more success - and we've already seen those qualities in Lewis, too. I'm convinced that we have one of the very strongest driver line-ups in F1, and that both Jenson and Lewis are committed to working together to enhance the team's prospects in what promises to be a fiercely competitive season."
Button, whose move from champion partner Brawn GP captured almost as many headlines as his 2009 title, admitted that he couldn't wait to get behind the wheel of a McLaren for the first time, having remarked that he always felt that the team put together a beautiful car.
"I'm incredibly proud to be standing here today knowing I'll be carrying the number one for the whole season - that's a great responsibility but also a great honour," the Briton noted, "It's something I'm relishing.
"From the very first day of testing, I'll be working with the team to learn about the car and to develop it ahead of the first race. I've said it before, but the pace of development in those opening tests could well determine the outcome of the championship. However, I've got a great team around me, and I already feel very at home here. I just can't wait to get in the car and start driving again. It really can't come soon enough!"
Team-mate Hamilton, a veteran of four seasons with the Woking operation, knows what goes on behind closed doors to produce the silver-and-red machines - McLaren has resisted the temptation to move away from its familiar livery in the advent of Mercedes launching its own silver-clad works team - and remains as determined as ever to return to the top step of the podium.
"I've seen just how much effort and attention has gone into making this car what it is," he revealed, "We've been pushing like crazy to find the performance and the result is something that looks very special and very uncompromising.
"Both Jenson and I are world champions, and we both want to add to the team's incredible winning legacy. I think a strong driver line-up will be very important this year as there are a lot of very competitive teams and drivers - and the stronger we can be, the better chance we'll have of winning races. We all understand that.
"Obviously, I want to win the drivers' world championship, that's clear. But, just as important, I want to help the team win the constructors' world championship. I think it's set to be a great year for F1 - it should be brilliant."
The team begins pre-season development of the MP4-25 alongside its rivals in the first group test of the year at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo on Monday.