On Sunday Mclaren launched the MP4-31, their 2016 contender, ahead of the first pre-season test in Barcelona.
The revived partnership between Mclaren & Honda suffered a bumpy start in 2015, with the team only managing to score 27 points on their way to 9th in the constructors championship, their lowest finish since 1980. The woking based squad are optimistic that the MP4-31 will move them closer to the top of the grid once again.
The MP4-31 feature a similar livery to what was revealed at the Spanish Grand Prix last season, featuring the dark grey, only with less red trim. The new challenger also features a shorter stub nose, similar to that of the Williams.
Speaking about the new challenger, Fernando Alonso said: “The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact – it’s particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say – and I’m 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead.
“The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. This year is no different: I’m excited and raring to go. ”
Jenson Button was positive, saying: “Despite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady improvements all year long, and that gives us confidence in the design direction we’re taking.
“There are a lot of positives we can build on, and a strong platform to take forward. I’m not about to make any over-optimistic predictions – Formula 1 is far too unpredictable for me to do that – but, from what I’ve seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow.”
The start of testing in Barcelona on Monday will begin to answer number of questions that have been on our minds all winter, one of which is whether Honda have been able to close the gap on the output of it’s power unit, most importantly on the energy recovery system which they struggled with last season.
Yasuhisa Arai, Honda’s Chief Officer of Motorsport says that they have made great strides over the winter break, continuing to say: “Learning from last year, we’ve made changes to the compressor and other hardware of the power unit during the break, maturing our overall concept from last year. Our focus will be to test the car’s balance with the new chassis and power unit, and specifically the ERS direction during the eight days of winter testing.
“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 McLaren MP4-31 will be out testing tomorrow in Barcelona in the hands of Jenson Button.