McLaren, one of the most eagerly awaited challengers of 2018, has finally been unleashed on track at the Navarra Circuit in Spain. This will be the first car from the McLaren stables to be powered by Renault. The team and fans will be anxious to know the competitiveness of the new package in a watershed year for the Woking-based squad.
The Brave New McLaren is Here: MCL33 Launched
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 23, 2018
McLaren promised to #BeBrave in their teasers for the 2018 challenger and they have been with the livery and contours of the MCL33. The nostalgic papaya orange paint job on the bodywork is sure to remind the team of their founder’s enterprising days. Hopefully this should motivate them to bring the car back to the front. With a dash of blue also thrown on the front and rear wings, the team will hope lady luck will finally smile on them this season.
Attention to details
Looking closely at the chassis from the revealed images, one can find intricate details – cuts, splines, and louvers – all around the wings, floor, and sidepods. The aerodynamicists under the leadership of Peter Prodromou seem to have done a great job. Though the design philosophy seems to have been continued from last year’s, a lot of work has been done on the chassis.
It is primarily to integrate it well to the Renault power unit. The technical team got the engine a bit late to work upon, close to the fag end of last season. However, the final product comes out as a neat piece of bodywork. The clean lines are perhaps accentuated by the conspicuous absence of any major sponsors name on the sides.
Word from the Drivers and Management
The team has expressed cautious optimism after the shakedown. From the words of their talismanic star driver, Fernando Alonso: “Looking at our new car, I feel incredibly excited, but also apprehensive. I know just how important this car is to the team, and I just hope that it delivers in the way we all want it to. If we’re able to develop the key strengths of last year’s chassis and marry it to an improved Renault power unit, then I think we’ll be able to take a step forwards. The car certainly looks very neat and well thought-out, and I think the new color looks really great; really eye-catching.”
— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) February 23, 2018
Stoffel Vandorne is keen on similar lines: “For everyone at McLaren, this is an important car. we all know exactly how much rests on it being successful, and we’re all extremely keen to see just how well it performs when we start testing it next week. It would be great to have a smooth few weeks of winter testing and to go to Australia feeling confident about the year ahead.”
Zak Brown, Executive Director, opines: “The McLaren team was created by a brave pioneer, and has had bravery at its core ever since. Whether it’s been with brave drivers, brave leaders or brave fortune, this team has always fought back. And we definitely view 2018 as the year when McLaren will move closer to the front, fighting teams and drivers as we improve our fortunes.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director, pitches in: “I think the whole team feels proud of this car. The design, engineering, and aerodynamics departments have done an incredible job delivering a new car with a new power unit in an extremely short timeframe. We never took the easy route or looked to shortcut a process or a solution, and the result is a car that is neat and well-resolved.”
Realistic Targets for the Season
All the optimism notwithstanding, the reality is that McLaren has been away from the sharp end of the battlefield for far too long. They need to shake off the rust along with the shakedown. Though Renault engines should be a step up from the Honda engines, they would still be behind Mercedes and Ferrari.
Even among identical engines, McLaren team has Red Bull Racing in direct contention for chassis supremacy. Intermittent podiums or a solitary fairytale win should be considered as mission accomplished for the season.
New McLaren-Renault Partnership:
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