McLaren take wraps off the MP4-25
High expectations following a difficult season
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh kicked off the launch of the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 challenger this morning from Vodafone’s Newbury headquarters.
The new car, unveiled by Lewis Hamilton and new recruit Jenson Button, features the traditional McLaren Mercedes silver, red and black colours with a notable engine cover wing running to the rear element.
Whitmarsh explained that the new design has allowed the team to build the car around the double diffuser concept - something that the team struggled to do with the MP4-24 last year - as well as the larger fuel tank required this year and Bridgestone’s new front tyres.
“We look forward to an exciting championship with many new names and faces and notably one old one,” Whitmarsh said in reference to Michael Schumacher’s return with Mercedes. “We welcome the prospect of the competition. Our goals are clear and we aim to win.”
"The group of engineers, designers and strategists we’ve assembled demonstrates how much can be achieved by a very focused team operating at the very limit of their abilities.
“In Jenson, we saw a champion driver hungry for more success. We’ve already seen those qualities in Lewis, too. I’m convinced that we have one of the very strongest driver line-ups in Formula One, and that both Jenson and Lewis are committed to working together to enhance the team’s prospects in what promises to be a fiercely competitive season.”
Hamilton, now in his fourth season with the team, joined Button on stage to remove the cover from the new MP4-25 and was in a bullish mood. "The car looks so much different to last year’s car,” began Hamilton. “I can’t wait to get on track with it and it will handle completely different to last year’s car - I hope so!
“We have looked to improve the downforce and aero efficiency but we don’t have a lot of testing (ahead of the new season) and we have the big fuel tank to get used to and the new tyres. We need to maximise each of those (test) days and hopefully we’ll get to the first race in a great position.
“Both Jenson and I are world champions, and we both want to add to the team’s incredible winning legacy. I think a strong driver line-up will be very important this year as there are a lot of very competitive teams and drivers – and the stronger we can be - the better chance we’ll have of winning races. We all understand that.
“Obviously, I want to win the drivers’ world championship, that’s clear. But, just as important, I want to help the team win the constructors’ world championship. I think it’s set to be a great year for Formula One – it should be brilliant.”
For Button, the move from Brawn Mercedes to McLaren represents a new challenge, but the defending champion is not dwelling on his 2009 championship success, but is instead focused on the new challenge alongside Hamilton at McLaren.
“Here with number one on the car, it’s very special but we need to forget about last year and look to the future,” he said. “It has been a busy January and a good January to be honest as you never know what to expect with a new team.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised and I’ve become part of the team in a short time,” Button continued. “The great thing about the team is - 2009 was a difficult time - and it makes them hungry to succeed. It’s been a good month and I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator which is very useful. January has been good, but I can’t wait for February to start so I can drive the car!
“I’ve said it before: the pace of development in those opening tests could well determine the outcome of the championship.”
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MP4-25 technical specification
Monocoque: McLaren-moulded carbonfibre composite incorporating front and side impact structures
Front suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
Rear suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
Suspension dampers: Koni
Electronics: McLaren Electronic Systems control units incorporating electronics for chassis, engine and data acquisition. McLaren Electronic Systems also supplies the electronic dashboard, alternator voltage control, sensors, data analysis and telemetry systems
Bodywork: Carbonfibre composite. Separate engine cover, sidepods and floor. Structural nose with intergral front wing. Paint solutions provided by AkzoNobel Car Refinishes using Sikkens Products
Tyres: Bridgestone Potenza
Race wheels: Enkei
Brake calipers: Akebono
Master cylinders: Akebono
Batteries: GS Yuasa Corporation
Steering: McLaren power-assisted
Instruments: McLaren Electronic Systems
Type: Mercedes-Benz FO 108X
Capacity: 2.4 litres
Maximum rpm: 18,000
Bank angle: 90°
Piston bore maximum: 98mm
Number of valves: 32
Fuel: ExxonMobil High Performance Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)
Spark plugs: NGK racing spark plugs specially designed for Mercedes-Benz F1 engine
Lubricants: Mobil 1
Weight: 95kg (minimum FIA regulation weight)
Gearbox: McLaren-moulded carbonfibre composite. Integral rear impact structure
Gears: Seven forward and one reverse
Gear selection: McLaren seamless shift, hand-operated fly-by-wire
Clutch: Carbon/carbon, hand-operated fly-by-wire