Button and Perez unveil the McLaren MP4-28 31 Jan 2013
The wraps came off McLarens 2013 car on Thursday morning, as drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez revealed the Mercedes-powered MP4-28 at the teams UK base in Woking.
Following a cavalcade of historic machinery from McLarens past - the team celebrate their 50th anniversary this year - Button and Perez entered the McLaren Technical Centre driving the companys latest road cars, before uncovering their new F1 challenger.
McLaren describe the MP4-28 as a deep and sweeping re-design of its race-winning 2012 predecessor in several key areas, most notably around the nose (now higher and stepped, but with the step covered by a 'modesty panel' as permitted by the 2013 regulations) and front suspension (now a pull-rod configuration following the trend set by Ferrari last year), the sidepod profiles and the rear bodywork.
We were extremely strong throughout the whole of the 2012 season, but, for one reason or another, we couldnt quite pull it all together to challenge for the championships, said Button, who starts his fourth season with McLaren this year. Thats something we want to address for 2013. Ive seen just how closely everybody has been working together on this car, and I think weve got the basis for a very strong season.
This years car is the best weve ever made - I know the engineers have left absolutely no stone unturned in wringing every ounce of performance from every available area. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel and attempt to carry forward the incredible legacy that lives beneath the skin of every single man and woman who works at McLaren.
Well be working extremely hard during the pre-season to ensure we go to the first race with bulletproof reliability. Operationally, too, I think weve learned and developed from last year, and that will help us run a much smoother and stronger campaign.
As well as a new car, Button has a new team mate for 2013 in Checo Perez, who will start only his third season of Formula One competition this year, having joined McLaren from Sauber over the winter.
For me, this is a great day, said the Mexican. In fact, every day this year has been great: Ive been working hard with my new team to get everything ready for the start of the 2013 season - and its been an incredible journey to get to know this incredible organisation.
Of course, I am fully aware of the steep slope ahead of me: it has already been an intense couple of weeks, getting to grips with a new team, meeting my engineers and mechanics, learning new ways of working and, of course, learning all about a brand new car - something Ill need to do with just six days of on-track testing. Its a big challenge.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh added: For 2013, of course, we go racing to win. With Jenson and Checo, and this fantastic-looking new car, I believe were extremely well prepared for another competitive season. Jenson is driving better than ever - hes the most experienced driver in Formula One, but he makes every ounce of that experience count: hes peerless in his ability to read a race and one of the very fastest drivers out there. Hes a consummate professional, too, and will revel in working hard to drive this team through the year.
Checo joins us after a sensational 2012 season and hes immediately proved that hes intelligent, modest, hard-working and, make no mistake; very, very quick. Of course, therell be a learning curve to overcome as he gets used to our organisation, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the early-season race weekends, but he understands that we are placing no pressure on him.
"This is an exciting time for the whole team. In our 50th anniversary season, I want Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to underline why we are the finest Grand Prix team in the world.
The MP4-28 will make its track debut at the first pre-season test of 2013, which begins at the Jerez circuit in Spain next week.
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