February 16 2021 , 7:56 pm
McLaren kick started Formula 1 2021 when they became the first outfit to launch their car and team for the new season
The event was the first time that McLaren’s new star signing Daniel Ricciardo was seen in the Woking team’s colours following his winter switch from Renault. He partners Lando Norris, who begins his third season of F1.
In further significance, 2021 represents the team’s return to Mercedes engines for the first time in seven years after three seasons powered by Renault.
McLaren’s new car – called the MCL35M – was for the first time as part of the launch event ahead of a season in which they will aim to build on a hugely-successful 2020 when they returned to the top three of the Constructors’ Championship for the first time in eight years.
James Key, McLaren’s technical director, told the team’s website: “We can’t just carry over the chassis from 2020. We’ve had to do a lot of redesigning, especially when it comes to various systems on the car, such as cooling and electronics. Not only will the chassis be different, the gearbox will be too and, of course, the engine, so the MCL35M is akin to a new car for us.
“Having to spend 2021 development tokens on the Mercedes engine installation changed our approach when it came to developments this season. But the upshot of it is that we probably added a bit of performance in 2020 that we normally wouldn’t have and there’s scope to develop these areas further based on all the information we’ve gathered.”