According to McLaren, while the stability in F1 regulations has enabled the team to strengthen and mature many of the design concepts developed on last year’s MP4-30, their 2016 car also incorporates a significant number of all-new innovations. The result, they say, is a balance of remarkably elegant aerodynamic solutions with a highly space-efficient integration of Honda’s new-for-2016 power unit.
“As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose,” commented Ron Dennis, McLaren Technology Group CEO. “That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.
“We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.”
McLaren experienced a tough 2015 campaign, as Honda struggled to make their new hybrid power unit reliable and competitive. The result was a lowly ninth in the constructors’ championship. Honda are, however, confident that invaluable lessons will benefit their new season.
“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,” said motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai. “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. It’s good to be back.”
Drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will get their first chance to sample the MP4-31 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain this week.
Commenting on McLaren’s plans for the two upcoming test sessions, racing director Eric Boullier said: We’ll be aiming to spend the four days of the first test carefully and methodically: extracting the maximum from the time available, and concentrating our efforts on proving out our central systems, operational procedures and electronics checks.
“We’ll need to verify our work in the garage before we can expect any miracles on track - essentially, to ensure we walk before we can run. After all, testing is just that: testing. But be assured, we’re motivated and determined, and we’re pulling together.”