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McLaren Launch “New Color” MCL 32 In England

Photo Courtesy of McLaren

Photo Courtesy of McLaren

With past glories behind them and a complete reshuffle in the management department which led to Ron Dennis departing, McLaren-Honda began a new chapter Friday morning by announcing the launch of the MCL 32 at the McLaren Technology Center in England.

In the past, the colors of the car were silver and black, along with just black at some times. However, this time as many in the media had anticipated, the black returns, but now half of the car is orange, which dates to the early days of the team, which was completely in this color during the F1days of the 1960s.Ten years after, Yardley had sponsored another McLaren F1 car, which has orange and white.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the organization, the MCL 32 still reflects on the former MP4-30 and 31 challengers, but it has been overhauled to meet the requirements of the current 2017 regulations. Along with Honda power, which is in its third year, the car has been revised by the company’s talented engineers.

The MCL 32’s biggest impression is the color scheme, which is painted in Tarocco Orange, along with a satin white and black gloss finish. Painted by AskoNobel Sikkens, the color is very crowd pleasing, which is helpful to begin a new chapter in McLaren’s History, something that Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Executive Committee Principal at McLaren, would agree with.

“The launch of a new Formula 1 car is always a time of anticipation and expectation.” He told McLaren’s web site.

“At McLaren-Honda, we’re fully focused on returning our team to the top step of the podium – a task we view as a multi-year project that requires thorough strategic planning and execution.

“Having analyzed our corporate culture and structure with great care and attention, and having consequently made important improvements, we’re now confident that all the building blocks are in place, and that we now have the expertise, the experience, the energy and the enthusiasm successfully to make the journey back to the front.

“We knew changes were required – and, now, with Zak [Brown], Jonathan [Neale] and Eric [Boullier], and of course our drivers Fernando [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne], backed by a superb team of men and women in both Woking [UK] and Sakura [Japan], we’re fully equipped to tackle this year’s exciting changes to the Formula 1 regulations, and, in addition to that, we’re already liaising strategically with the new owners of our sport, Liberty Media, to improve its spectacle and success.”

Mansour Ojjeh, the other half of the McLaren Committee agreed: “Over the past few months we’ve been working extremely hard to prepare for the new Formula 1 season – from every point of view – and the first visible output of that massive effort is a car that looks fantastic in my view.” He stated.

“Its color scheme incorporates a significant nod to our team’s founder, the great Bruce McLaren, but it’s deliberately not orange all over. The black stripes and white trims not only add to the overall aesthetic effect, but also reference more recent color schemes as well as the traditional corporate color of our much-valued power unit partner, Honda, whose engineers have been toiling night and day over the past few months.

“I’ve been involved in Formula 1 far too long to make precise performance predictions – more than 30 years – but I can say without fear of contradiction that we’re now in a very good place: we’ve got the right people, with the right attitude, motivated by the right kind of collaborative ambition, and we’re ready to continue to work as hard as is humanly possible to do what it takes to succeed.

“I’m proud of them all.”

What has made things different for this Woking, England, based team was the departure of Ron Dennis. Dennis raised the team right from the start and now the torch has been passed to American Zak Brown, who along with Jonathon Neele, are the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, respectively.

“McLaren has always been the team in Formula 1 for me,” said Brown, “And I’m massively motivated to be able to help re-establish the team where I firmly believe it belongs: at the very pinnacle of Formula 1.

“Assisting us reach that goal will be a fantastic group of partners that have supported us throughout the years, ranging from long-term collaborations with SAP and Johnnie Walker, through to our newest partnerships with Castrol and Stratasys, both of which have been announced this year. I want to say on behalf of the entire McLaren-Honda team: a massive thank you to all our partners for all your amazing enthusiasm and support.

“Indeed, I’m hugely encouraged by the amount of attention this year’s McLaren-Honda launch has garnered, and by the number of our partners in attendance – not only at the McLaren Thought Leadership Centre in Woking [UK], but also at our concurrent event in Tokyo [Japan], which is taking place at a Hilton hotel; Hilton is one of our partners, of course.

“To everyone who has given us their support, today is the perfect opportunity to raise a glass of Chandon, which is another one of our partners, to celebrate the launch of our new car.”

“It has been a challenging winter for us as a leadership team,” added Neale, “But there’s a great sense of purpose and enthusiasm throughout the business this year, and that applies not only to the McLaren Technology Group but also to our power unit partner Honda. Together, we’ve assembled a formidably capable team, but we still have work to do in order to fulfil our true potential. Together with our staff, the Board of Directors, and with the guidance and support of our Executive Committee Principals, we’re working extremely hard as we continue to put the essential elements of future success in place.

“The journey ahead isn’t going to be easy, and I’ve emphasized that to everyone. We’ve made progress in the past 12 months, but we’re not where we need to be and we expect on-track competition to be fierce. To win in Formula 1 requires any competitor to be good at everything. Thoughtful but relentless pursuit of excellence is required.

“So, do I believe we’ll be back at the front this year? Realistically, probably not quite yet, no. But do I think we’ll continue to make meaningful improvement as a team? Absolutely. And that’s our aim: to make progress by establishing the proper and correct, if sometimes difficult, changes that are needed to go forward.

“We can’t predict where that will leave us – particularly on the eve of a new season of regulatory upheaval and uncertainty – but as a team we have many talented and driven individuals and we’re restless about continuing to do whatever is needed to make us competitive.”

Racing Director Eric Boullier returns for his third year, and feels that following his first two seasons, welcomes the change that can help the team progress to challenge the top squads.

“Within McLaren-Honda, there’s a tangible feeling of progress, of change.” He said. “This year’s rules reset is a valuable opportunity for us – it will allow us to make progress with what we feel is a well ordered and clearly defined chassis-engine package, and hopefully to narrow the delta between us and the front-running teams.

“The addition of a striking orange and black paint job reinforces the notion that we’re moving away from what immediately preceded it, but it’s the engineering detail on the MCL32 that really impresses me. It’s the result of a huge amount of work from a team that has really developed together over the past few years. The chassis is incredibly well realized, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel, we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that’s already blending really well.

“There’s a feeling around the factory that we’re about to turn the corner. Our relationship with Honda has blossomed – there’s a real sense of comradeship to what we do now – and I think we’re all very excited about what we can achieve together this year.

“Technically, in 2017 man and machine will be pushed to the absolute limit, owing to higher speeds and more severe braking. All our partners and suppliers have done a great job, but I want to mention Akebono, one of our team’s long-standing technology partners, who have developed all-new brake callipers and brake systems to cope with the increased loads and forces that will face Fernando, Stoffel and the MCL32.”

Fernando Alonso returns for his final season with his contract, and it still is questionable on whether he will renew for another season. But one thing is for certain, McLaren is one team he has faith in.

“I think there’s a lot to admire about what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months.” Alonso stated. “Sure, the results haven’t really showcased it, but we’ve really made progress, and I think the whole team has gelled together through those difficult times. Now, at a moment of significant regulatory change, we need to capitalize on that period of uncertainty to push forwards – and I’m confident that we’ve got the expertise to do just that.

“What I’ve seen of the MCL32 appears to be really promising – the new regulations seem to be well thought-out, and the cars look fast and aggressive. The look of the car makes me really want to get in the cockpit – I’ve lost none of that all-important hunger every Formula 1 driver needs. Training over the winter has gone well – I worked really hard – and I can’t wait to get going in the car as I say.

“We still think the start of the season will be a challenge – we can’t ignore the fact that we’re still coming from a significant step behind the current front-runners – but I’d like to think we can target the second half of the year as a time when we’ll really be able to start making useful performance steps. The aim is to look respectable this year – and I’d like to think we can achieve that.”

Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne now replaces the retiring Jenson Button after being the test driver for several years and is quite ready to get results following a 10th place finish last season in Bahrain when Alonso was out with a concussion after the first race in Australia.

“It’s really nice to see a McLaren looking like a proper McLaren.” He said. “The livery is a great mix of the past and the future: the orange of the 1960s and ’70s, but pushed forwards. I really like it. As for the car itself, it looks great. There are so many beautiful little details – the gills on the nose hangers, the bargeboards, the front wing – it all looks incredibly well finished and thoroughly thought-out.

This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life. My preparation has been long, intense and meticulous. I’ve spent the winter training ferociously hard, I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been, and I’m raring to get going. This is my opportunity. And I’m ready.”

And so are the rest of the people at McLaren.

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Mark Gero has written formula one racing stories since 2002 on the Internet for such sites as Motorsport.com, Racing Information Service News and for a brief time at the Munich Eye newspaper in Munich, Germany along with Autoweek online. Mark also has a diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism in London, England and in addition a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa.