McLaren unveiled their new car, the MP4-30, which will be piloted by former world champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button in 2015, in an online presentation on Thursday.
The British marque will be running Honda engines for the first time since 1992 and they hope that Alonso and Button will help them end two years in the Formula One wilderness.
But despite resuming their partnership with Japanese engine manufacturer Honda, the new car retains the predominantly grey livery synonymous with the team’s 20-year partnership with Mercedes.
“Although our renewed alliance began again many months ago, the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 marks the start of a lengthy journey,” said chief executive Ron Dennis in a statement.
“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.
“I’m positive that, together, we’ll get to where we want to be: winning Grands Prix and eventually World Championships as McLaren-Honda.”
Flecks of red along the MP4-30’s snout recall the red and white cars of McLaren’s Honda-powered glory days in the late 1980s, when Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna dominated the sport.
Those days have seemed a distant memory over the past two seasons, during which time McLaren failed to register a single victory, but two-time champion Alonso said the team are ready to challenge for honours again.
– ‘Itching to get going’ –
“I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda,” said the Spaniard, who will be the first man to drive the new car in testing at the Spanish circuit of Jerez on Sunday.
“I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season. Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, 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.”
Button’s place in McLaren’s line-up was not confirmed until late last year, with the 35-year-old Briton only retaining his seat after a battle with rookie Kevin Magnussen.
But ahead of his sixth season with the team, Button is eager to begin his partnership with Alonso.
“The off-season has really brought about a sense of renewal coming into 2015,” said the 2009 champion.
“Continuing my relationship with McLaren, getting married, and now embarking on such an exciting chapter: McLaren’s new partnership with Honda. I’ve trained hard over the winter, and I’m absolutely itching to get going in the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30.
“I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Fernando, and I’m confident that our joint experience on track will pay dividends in our development race to get our team back to the front of the grid. I’m hugely motivated to make more history in this new McLaren-Honda era.” – Agence France-Presse