McLaren has become the first Formula 1 team to launch its 2021 car ahead of the new season, unveiling the new Mercedes-powered MCL35M at its base in woking.
The event marks the return of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership that previously ran from 1995-2014, winning three drivers’ championships and one constructors’ crown. Having endured a three-year spell with Renault following its acrimonious split with Honda in 2017, McLaren has switched to Mercedes power as it bids to continue its recent resurgence.
In order to accommodate the Mercedes power unit, McLaren has been forced to spend its two permitted development tokens, resulting in a new rear-end on the this year’s car.
The 2021 challenger retains the papaya orange livery that McLaren readopted in 2017, hailing back to the iconic colour scheme it previously ran in the 1960s and early 1970s.
“All of us at McLaren are ready and determined for another season of intensely competitive Formula 1 racing,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said.
“The entire team has worked hard over the short winter, together with our colleagues from Mercedes-AMG, to produce the MCL35M and provide a strong car for our drivers to race this year.
“This has been no small challenge, and I want to thank every member of our team, whether at the MTC or working remotely, for the massive effort they’ve put in.”
McLaren is hoping to build on a strong 2020 campaign that saw it claim third place in the constructors’ standings, its highest finish since 2012.
The Woking-based outfit’s last victory was with Mercedes power, when Jenson Button won the 2012 season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.
It will also run a revised driver line-up this year with the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo to replace Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
The Australian, winner of seven grand prix’s, partners young British ace Lando Norris, who enters his third season with McLaren.
The MCL35M will make its on-track debut in a shakedown at Silverstone next week before the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain on March 12.