McLaren and Mercedes have both unveiled their Formula One cars ready for winter testing, as they build towards the start of the new season in Australia on 20 March.
The British team, fallen giants of the sport, were cautiously optimistic about the chances of their new car. The McLaren team principal, Ron Dennis, said: “As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win. We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come.”
Last season, their first of a new partnership with Honda, they finished ninth in the constructors’ championship, managing just 27 points, compared with 703 for the champions, Mercedes. McLaren are without a race win since 2012.
The Honda motorsport chief officer, Yasuhisa Arai, said: “We won’t know exactly where we stand until we reach the end of the two tests but we’re looking forward to getting back on track, gathering data and feeding back the information to our engineers so as to prepare for Melbourne and onwards.”
The new car will make a first track appearance at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Monday.
Mercedes, meanwhile, believe their new car can fire them to the completion of a hat-trick of titles. Lewis Hamilton, winner of the last two drivers’ championships, is attempting to become the first Briton to claim four world titles, while his team will aim to strengthen their stranglehold on the sport, having triumphed in 32 of the last 38 races.
Their technical director, Paddy Lowe, said: “While the car may look very similar to its predecessor from the outside – as is inherent within stable regulations – underneath there are quite a lot of mini-revolutions that make up an overall evolution for the new season.
“It’s very tough to find performance under a stable set of regulations and we were particularly pleased with how the car turned out in 2015 when we had the same situation.
“2016 is another carry-over year from a regulatory point of view and potential gains inevitably become harder to find under these circumstances. It’s far easier to find performance when you have a new set of rules, that’s for sure.”theguardian.com
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