McLaren performs first fire-up of Mercedes-powered MCL35M

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The Woking-based McLaren F1 Team has today reached an important milestone in its transition from Renault to Mercedes power unit as the team completed its first fire-up of its new MCL35M.

McLaren announced last year that it would switch from Renault to Mercedes engines, which was the Woking-based team long-serving engine partner in the past before its cooperation with Renault and Honda. Despite the restrictions regarding the technical changes from last year to this season, the team’s engineers have been rather busy, working hard to adapt their MCL35 chassis to accomodate the new power unit.

Today marked an important milestone for the Woking-based squad as it fired up the new car for the first time. The important moment was witnessed by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and Team Principal Andeas Seidl.

McLaren F1 Production Director Piers Thynne revealed that the engine partner change resulted in a huge number of changes to the team’s 2020 F1 car.

„Whereas every other team will carry over most of its car from last year into this year, our switch to the Mercedes power unit means that’s not the case for us. It’s driven a huge amount of change and, essentially, we’ve been building a new car. The number of new parts on the MCL35M is about the same as when we built the MCL35.

„The back of the chassis and gearbox bell housing around the engine have changed significantly to adapt to the new power unit. Changing power unit greatly alters the architecture of the car and the way everything is packaged, so the entire cooling layout and all the pipework – be that for fluid or air – has changed, along with all electrical harnessing and control boxes,” Thynne concluded.

McLaren's 2021 F1 car, the MCL35M will be piloted by Lando Norris, who will complete his third year in F1 and by Daniel Ricciardo, who joins the team, leaving Renault and replacing Carlos Sainz.