McLaren have revealed their 2017 F1 car, named MCL32. Just like the different naming, the team have also finally added some traditional McLaren orange to its livery, hoping to mark the return to the front of the grid for the team after several difficult years.
Set to be driven by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, expectations are high, but Alonso and Boullier notable tried to be modest about the expectations, both hinting at "hard work" and "hopeful progress", but unwilling to promise anything in terms of results for the coming year.
For Racing Director Eric Boullier, the ambition is clear.
“Within McLaren-Honda, there’s a tangible feeling of progress, of change. This year’s rules reset is a valuable opportunity for us – it will allow us to make progress with what we feel is a well ordered and clearly defined chassis-engine package, and hopefully to narrow the delta between us and the front-running teams.
“The addition of a striking orange and black paint job reinforces the notion that we’re moving away from what immediately preceded it, but it’s the engineering detail on the MCL32 that really impresses me. It’s the result of a huge amount of work from a team that has really developed together over the past few years. The chassis is incredibly well realised, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel, we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that’s already blending really well.
“There’s a feeling around the factory that we’re about to turn the corner. Our relationship with Honda has blossomed – there’s a real sense of comradeship to what we do now – and I think we’re all very excited about what we can achieve together this year.
“Technically, in 2017 man and machine will be pushed to the absolute limit, owing to higher speeds and more severe braking. All our partners and suppliers have done a great job, but I want to mention Akebono, one of our team’s long-standing technology partners, who have developed all-new brake callipers and brake systems to cope with the increased loads and forces that will face Fernando, Stoffel and the MCL32.”
At Honda, there are similar sounds, with project leader Yusuke Hasegawa noting the big changes that come for the power unit.
“Based on our two years of acquired experience and constant progress, Honda has made big changes to the concept and layout of our 2017 power unit, the RA617H.", Hasegawa said.
“The main areas of change that we focused on has been to decrease the weight and lower the centre of gravity, so as to improve the balance of the car, while generating more output from the ICE [internal combustion engine].
“Also, owing to the new 2017 regulations fundamentally affecting the design of our new car, Honda has made a lot of changes to accommodate the updated chassis. The team has therefore continued their hard work throughout the winter to find an ideal balance. “The pre-season test in Barcelona will be very important for us, so as to learn the functionality of the car as a whole.
“Our relationship with McLaren will continue to strengthen as we further progress technically and operationally this year, to achieve our ultimate goal.”