The highly anticipated McLaren Honda MP4-30 was launched on Thursday in Woking. Ron Dennis, chief executive said it marks the start of a lengthy journey back to winning races and eventually world championships.
McLaren, which hasn’t won a grand prix since 2012, will be using Honda engines for the first time since 1992.
“We’re prepared for a steep learning curve,” said two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, who will partner Jenson Button in his second spell at McLaren this year. “But it’s clear to see that inside McLaren Honda, there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership.”
The team’s 2015 car, which also features a revised – and frankly, unimaginative – red, black and silver colour scheme, has a refined nose-box solution which complies to the new regulations on nose height and shape, slimmed rear-end packaging and an all-new Honda RA615 H Hybrid power unit.
It has been extensively developed over the winter and the result, according to McLaren, is a solid base package which will offer up a number of new development paths for their engineers, aerodynamicists and drivers to pursue during the season.
McLaren and Honda won 44 Grand Prix between 1988 and 1992. The renewed partnership is still a work in progress, admitted McLaren, however the Woking based squad is confident that the Japanese manufacturer has the expertise to make rapid progress all season long.
“Although our renewed alliance (with Honda) began again many months ago, the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 marks the start of a lengthy journey,” said Ron Dennis.
“We’ve come a long way already and, although there’s a lot of work to do before we can expect to repeat the level of success we enjoyed together 25-or-so years ago, it’s already clear that there’s enormous synergy and potential in our partnership, and I’m positive that, together, we’ll get to where we want to be: winning Grands Prix and eventually World Championships as McLaren-Honda,” he concluded.
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s senior managing officer, shared Dennis’ enthusiasm about both the new car and the reforged partnership.
“As you can see with the new MP4-30, we’ve dedicated ourselves as one team with McLaren to creating a new car that compromises on nothing – either power or aerodynamics,” he said.
“Yet, in the midst of the excitement, both myself and our engineers are 100 per cent focused in both Sakura and Milton Keynes to prepare for Jerez and beyond. We’re confident that the technology is there, and I’m looking forward to see how it will perform.
“We’re about to commence a long season, with numerous challenges, but Honda is determined to face them head-on. After all, we’re here to drive Formula One’s technology forward and give our fans a thrilling ride.”
While the livery scheme hasn’t exactly set hears racing, what’s clearly apparent is the team’s continued lack of a title sponsor, with the rear wing and sidepods noticeably absent of any sponsor stickers. The team retains backing from TAG Heuer, Johnnie Walker and Hilton Worldwide, while there is also support from CNN and professional services company KPMG, as well as the coffee brand Segafredo Zanetti.
The MP4-30 is expected to make its track debut at the start of pre-season testing in Spain this Sunday.
Images via McLaren