With the launch of the McLaren MCL35M the countdown for the 2021 Formula 1 season has begun. McLaren will be looking to consolidate third place for 2021, with the addition of Daniel Riccardo from Renault and the Mercedes power unit, the Woking based team will be looking to cement them as the third best team on the grid. As with most teams they will be hoping to be regular visitors to the podium and be in a position to snatch the odd victory.
“We’re thrilled to launch our 2021 team with Lando and Daniel, as we prepare to get the Formula 1 season started. We’ve got an incredibly exciting driver line-up this year, both are formidable racers on-track and great characters off-track. Lando is a naturally fast and intelligent racer on an exciting trajectory, while Daniel is a multiple grand prix winner with a sharp racer’s edge and exceptional talent. “After a challenging but rewarding 2020, we have firmly hit the reset button for this season as we continue on our path towards the front of the grid. This will be an even tougher season but we’re ready to meet the challenge. I want to pay tribute to Formula 1 and the FIA and our fellow teams in continuing to work hard for the benefit of our sport as we strive to bring exciting racing to fans around the world. “We head into this season with an incredible group of committed and valuable partners at our side, who are such a vital part of our team. 2020 represented a significant challenge, not just for McLaren Racing but also many of our partners, so to have maintained their support is a testament to the quality of our partners and the relationships we have formed on our journey together. “We’ve really missed having our fantastic fans with us at track, and we can’t wait to have them join us again when safe to do so. As always, we go to every grand prix weekend with the ambition of putting on a great show and achieving the best possible result for our incredible fanbase. “I’m proud of our team and the progress we’ve made together so far. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’ve got a great spirit in the team and we’re becoming stronger competitors as we continue on our journey.”Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing,
McLaren have been on a tough road, spending a few years to stabilise the ship, bringing in Zac Brown and Andreas Seidl to give the team some much needed guidance and leadership.
Another addition to the Mclaren fold was the respected James Key, the MCL35M will be the first car that will have a his stamp on it.
Even with limited with aerodynamic development, James Key will try to add as much as he can to aid the aero package especially with the new Mercedes power unit being added to the car.
2020 A Tale of consistency
McLaren have been blessed with two drivers that are competitive and consistent. Lando Norris only failed to finish one race, at the Eifel Grand Prix. In the remaining 16 races he finished in the points in 13, Lando had a great start to the season with his first podium in Formula 1 coming at the opening Grand Prix in Austria. Lando would finish his second year in Formula 1 with 97 points and an 8th place finish in the Driver’s standings. 2020 was Lando Norris’s second season in Formula 1, few people will say that he doesn’t deserve to be in Formula 1.
Lando has showed maturity in the car that are befitting someone much older. He is a safe dependable pair of hands behind the papaya coloured MCL35, however a question does still remain, does Lando Norris have what it takes to give McLaren their first World Championship since Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 triumph? Unquestionably Norris has the talent to succeed in Formula 1, however he will have to start showing that he has that extra something that will bring him into the same conversation as Russell, Verstappen and Leclerc.
“All of us at McLaren are ready and determined for another season of intensely competitive Formula 1 racing. 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. Lando and Daniel will, I know, do their very best to represent the team out on track. “We’re all extremely pleased by how Lando has developed from test and development driver in 2017, to Britain’s youngest podium finisher in 2020. His passion and experience for the sport are growing hand-in-hand, and he’s now one of the fastest and most exciting racing drivers on the grid. “Daniel represents our next step as a team and his decision to join McLaren is a validation of the progress we’re making. As a proven race-winner and formidable competitor, Daniel brings energy and experience to push McLaren forward on our mission to the front of the field. “Together, Lando and Daniel comprise one of the most competitive driver line-ups in the sport. With these two behind the wheel of the MCL35M, we know we’ll have a team that gives total commitment in the pursuit of on-track performance as we head into the 2021 season.”Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren F1
Carlos Sainz was as consistent as his fellow McLaren teammate, the Spanish driver would finish in 6th with 105 points. He would match Lando’s podium in Austria with third in the second race at the Redbull Ring. Carlos would capitalise on the momentum of the great start to the season with a second in Hungary.
The closest that the McLaren team had to gain a win in 2020 came at the Italian Grand Prix, when Carlos attempted to hunt down the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly. He just couldn’t quite get passed the Frenchman and had to settle for second. in normal circumstances this would have been a great result considering where McLaren were only a few years ago. The disappointment in the Spaniards voice gave a clue to the progress of the team.
With the drivers giving the team 202 points, it was enough to secure third place in the constructors.
The Future is bright…the future is Australian.
One of the biggest decisions for the 2021 season came before a wheel had even turned in Formula 1 2020. Ferrari announced that they had decided not to extend the contract of four time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, the speculation began, who would take the Ferrari seat? Almost instantly Carlos Sainz and Daniel Riccardo’s names were at the top of the list. With both drivers doing well for the respective teams and with both of them out of contract at the end of 2020, it seemed to be a a question of which one would it be. Ferrari finally made their decision, it was Carlos Sainz who was chosen to join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari from 2021. This left a space in the McLaren team, almost as soon as Ferrari made the decision, McLaren had chosen the highly rated Daniel Riccardo.
Daniel moves to McLaren after two years at Renault on what was later told to be a 3 year deal. McLaren has now bagged themselves a proven race winner and arguably one of the strongest racers on the grid. Having such a talent in the team with the right car could propel them to a level that they have not been close to in a number of years. Last season they almost won a race, however that opportunity was born out of a series events that no one could foresee. It is one thing to be in a place to take your opportunity when the chances come along but in Formula 1 teams want the ability to make their own opportunities. With the MCL35M, complete with Daniel Riccardo, Mercedes and James Key, they are on there way to doing just that.
McLaren took a leaf out Redbull’s school of Livery design, the MCL35M retains the majority of the same design from the 2020 car with a few minor changes, the electric blue now accents the nose and the rainbow design that was added to the car as part of the we race as one campaign has been integrated into the sidepods slightly differently. The car has some minor changes to the aerodynamics, some have been due to fitting a Mercedes power unit into a Renault shaped hole.
“Despite relatively stable technical regulations from 2020, there are several significant aerodynamic changes to the rules that are important to get right. Every change to these regulations presents an opportunity, and the team in Woking has been working incredibly hard in difficult conditions to maximise those opportunities. “One of the key elements of the MCL35M design is the integration of the Mercedes-AMG power unit, which has taken a considerable effort from the team in Woking, as well as our colleagues at Mercedes. Despite our limited scope for installation in a homologated car, the team has done a fantastic job of optimising our design work. “Building a Formula 1 car is never easy. These are the fastest and most technically complex racing cars in the world and that challenge has only been compounded by the covid-19 pandemic. Over the past year, the team in the factory has been subject to incredibly strict, rigorous testing and working procedures aimed at keeping our people safe. I’m immensely proud of how our incredible group of people has risen to this challenge and developed the best possible package.”James Key, Technical Director, McLaren F1
The air intake and the shape of the nosecone are different from the MCL35, the rear wing is sporting a different aero philosophy, along the outer endplates. These look minor but will hopefully compliment the rest of the package. The 2021 season will be important for McLaren, that have to build on the result of last season, if they have done their homework (which I’m sure they have) and incorporated the Mercedes Power Unit into the car and provide Lando and Daniel with a car that could take the challenge to Redbull and also keep the fast charging mid pack at bay, It could be a good season for the papaya …. The Future is bright, the Future is Papaya……