McLaren Honda has revealed its new MCL32, its first Formula 1 car to be produced in the post-Ron Dennis era.
Clearly wanting to mark a new chapter under the team’s new leadership structure, the team has done away with its traditional ‘MP4′ chassis designation (in deference to Dennis’ original Project Four Racing group) and returned to its roots with a stunning orange and black livery that harks back to the team’s formative years.
While the car follows a logical evolution of its MP4-30 and MP4-31 predecessors, almost every aspect of the MCL32 has undergone a thorough redesign under the new-for-2017 aerodynamic regulations that will see the cars lap some 3-4 seconds quicker.
Like almost all of its rival teams to have unveiled their cars to-date, the MCL32 sports a ‘shark fin’ engine cover among a host of design concepts expected to feature on this year’s cars.
The most notably unique feature of the MCL32 is with its extremely intricate front wing and nose (pictured right).
What is clear is that significant time and resources were invested in creating a concept that would maximise front end downforce and enhance air flow around the larger 2017-spec Pirelli tyres.
The wing is mounted by no less than eight individual pillars to the nose – double that of any team seen to-date – all with their leading and trailing edges carefully positioned to channel as much air flow under the car as possible.
Under the skin is a new Honda V6 turbo-hybrid power unit (‘RA617H’ designation) which has undergone major revisions at Honda’s Sakura centre. Both the team and its works engine partner will be expecting a major improvement in the power output and reliability after two disappointing seasons of the relationship.
While last year’s chassis/engine combination marked a substantial improvement over its disastrous 2015 campaign, the MP4-31 was a midfield runner at best and consigned the team to sixth overall in the Constructors’ Championship standings.
Despite confirming that he briefly explored a move to Mercedes in the wake of Nico Rosberg’s retirement, two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso remains at the Woking team for another season.
The Spaniard will be joined by Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, who takes on full-time driving duties for the team as replacement to Jenson Button. The 2015 GP2 Series champion already has one Grand Prix under his belt, scoring a point by finishing tenth at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix where he replaced the injured Alonso.
Images via LAT Images and McLaren Honda