After shocking the F1 paddock by romping to a comfortable fourth place in the 2019 constructors’ standings, McLaren have shown off the car they’re hoping can take them to even greater heights in 2020: the MCL35.
The machine – featuring a subtly tweaked matte livery, and sporting two pronounced ridges at the front end of the car, along with a slimmer nose section – was revealed in the team’s McLaren Technology Centre, with drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris joined by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown and Team Principal Andreas Seidl for the launch.
“This is an important moment for the entire team,” said Seidl. “Today is another step on our journey. It is important not to be complacent, this will be a tough season. Nothing comes easy in Formula 1 and the competition at the head of the midfield will be intense. We have six days of testing to prepare for the start of the new season and Carlos, Lando and the whole team here at the MTC and at track are ready.”
Norris said: “I think the MCL35 looks great with its updated livery – I think our fans will love it and I’m really excited to drive it for the first time. A lot of hard work and development have gone into this car from the design team, the engineers, the car build team and Carlos and myself, and it’s a special feeling to have been involved in its evolution."
Sainz added: "I’ve followed very closely the making of the MCL35 this winter and I know how much effort and passion we’ve put into it. Many may consider 2020 to be just a gap year between the old and the new regulations, a mere continuation of 2019 into 2021. However, at McLaren, we pushed the ‘reset’ button after the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi and we’ve worked extremely hard to try and improve every single detail of our car.
“The solid jump forward we made last season was a huge motivation but, at the same time, a strong reminder of how tight the fight continues to be in the midfield. We can’t afford to sit back in 2020 if we want to close the gap to the top."
The MCL35 will look to build on the success of last year’s MCL34, which brought McLaren their first podium since 2014 at the Brazilian Grand Prix in the hands of Sainz, while both Sainz and Norris helped the team claim their best constructors’ finish since 2012, 54 points to the good over the Renault works team who supply their power units.
The MCL35 is a significant car for McLaren, meanwhile, as the first that Technical Director James Key – who began working at the team midway through 2019 – has had a hand in developing.
We’ll get our first signs of whether McLaren have built another midfield topper – or, even better, a top-three botherer – when pre-season testing begins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 19.