Mclaren have taken the covers off the much anticipated 2013 challenger, the MP4-28, yesterday in a spectacular way. Celebrating 50th anniversary, Mclaren are adamant that this car has a title winning ingredients in itself. F1’s 2009 world champion and the most experienced Jenson Button arrived at MTC on an in-house built prototype sportscar that was unveiled at Paris Motor Show, Mclaren P1. Meanwhile, new recruit and highly skillful Sergio Perez graced to the stage in a 12C model.
At the build-up show, Mclaren portrayed their storied past brilliantly with a parade of successful and iconic racers including Ayrton Senna’s first title-winning 1988 MP4/4, Mika Hakkinen’s title-crowning MP4/13, Emerson Fittipaldi’s classic 1974 M23 that won him his last world-title, Lewis Hamilton’s MP4/23, 1970’s M8D CanAm sportscar and 1995 Le Mans-winning F1 GTR. Long-serving technical director Paddy Lowe was not present at the ceremony fueling rumours that he was recruited by Mercedes but Martin Whitmarsh admitted he is committed to the squad until at least the end of 2013.
The first season Mclaren would contest without flawless Hamilton on-board is this year. Jenson Button embarks on a fourth straight season with the British outfit and wary of what’s about to unfold. The 2009 champion is confident than ever and believes that cutting down crucial reliability issues would be a keen target. Despite winning at Australia, Belgium and Brazil mechanical issues caused his title hopes dearly. With no Hamilton, Perez would be key in qualifying after getting accustomed to the squad. Both drivers are good at managing the Pirellis and it’d be a biggest weapon in their arsenal.
Like this year, Mclaren had an early launch in 2012 defying the rules with being the only car without a step-nose on the front thanks to it traditionally being low-profiled. The silver and rocket red livery has been retained (I wished it was a gleaming white and red) with the car barely stood with no 2013 upgrade package on it like Lotus did. Perhaps they will let the lap times do the talking apparently when we go racing.
Roughly speaking the car is exactly the same from its predecessor but as Jenson has been describing it wasn’t. McLaren gave the MP4-28 the best nose job in the paddock thus far, no step change on the front visibly unlike Lotus E21 but the ‘modesty panel’ did make its appearance as the covered up ‘step’ has the benefit of its own. Basically it is the bottom part of the car that gets profited as the chassis is lifted a few measures to allow airflow underneath and onto sidepods for effective cooling and to influence more flow to the diffuser.
They certainly have gone in Ferrari’s way of pull-rod suspension at the front and rear. There are kinematic and structural advantages it has but it’s only an evolution of Ferrari’s concept. Ferrari were the first to use it since Minardi in 2001 as the wishbones could divert airflow onto the back of the car as well. Mclaren have decided to stick with their own sidepod design unlike Lotus opted to try Red Bull’s to eke out some performance. But the rear has some influence of Red Bull with the suspension getting thicker wishbones, same as last year.
McLaren engineering director Tim Goss said,
“We looked at our performance during last season, in the stages where we were laying down the foundations of this car, and looked at where we thought we would get to in terms of our development rate if we just kept continuing with developing the same car,” he said. “We realised we actually needed to make a larger step. So in defining the architecture of this car, the philosophy was very much to give ourselves the scope to further exploit the area of the cars that we knew would generate performance.”
No doubt that Mclaren have pushed boundaries in developing this car and the exhaust is thoroughly re-done for wringing every ounce of performance and it’s a different solution of Red Bull’s design. History through evolution or evolution through history like Mclaren have been saying ? we could find out soon !