It’s a whole new driver line-up and a whole new car for McLaren, as the team revealed the MCL34 that Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will campaign during the 2019 season.
Unveiled by employees at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking in the UK, the car demonstrates the team’s interpretation of the new 2019 regulations, chiefly the revised, simpler front wings and smaller bargeboards, while the MCL34 will take its first laps in anger at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, when winter testing begins there on February 18.
McLaren’s 2018 machine, the MCL33, had looked to be one of the strongest midfield runners in the early part of last season, before the performance of the car – driven by Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne – appeared to tail off towards the end of the year, with the team ending up sixth in constructors’ standings.
But with McLaren beginning their second season with Renault power, and with some big technical and management signings coming onboard – most notably ex-Toro Rosso man James Key, who’s signed on as the team’s Technical Director, and Andreas Seidl, who moves from Porsche to become McLaren’s Managing Director – there is optimism in the team that its dynamic young driver line-up could help McLaren move further up the grid in 2019.
“This is going to be a very big year for us,” said Zak Brown ahead of the launch. “I think we have outstanding talent. Everybody is going to be very excited to see us on the grid in Australia.
“I think we are going to have two young and extremely quick Grand Prix drivers. Then all the men and women back in McLaren have been working extremely hard to make sure we produce a better race car than we did in 2018.”
Before the MCL34’s unveiling, meanwhile, both Norris and Sainz took to Twitter to reveal the helmet designs they’ll be sporting in 2019.