sport

McLaren launch new car

McLaren conjured a dramatic unveiling of their latest challenger ahead of the 2013 Formula One season.

With McLaren marking the 50th anniversary this year since their inception, they opted for something a little different at their Technology Centre headquarters in Woking, and it proved to be appreciably deafening.

The earlier heavy rain gave way to a sprinkling of sunshine just on cue as the team at first initially ushered in an array of their most famous cars from their glorious past.

The cars at first made their way along the perimeter access road and around the lake that sits adjacent to the multi-million pound glass-fronted building.

They were then driven through the entrance and into the atrium, parking up in front of the gathered team personnel, dignitaries and media.

Given the confines of the atrium, the decibel levels rose on each of the six occasions one sauntered to its parking spot, with two amongst them Ayrton Senna's dominant car from 1988 and the model from 20 years later in which Lewis Hamilton won his title.

Shortly after they were followed by the 2013 drivers. Jenson Button arrived in one of McLaren's new sports prototype supercars, and new team-mate Sergio Perez in a McLaren Spyder.

Sadly, there was no such run-out for the MP4-28 as that instead was traditionally unveiled, with a white satin sheet rolled off the new design by Button and Perez.

On the surface, as Button remarked, it may not look too far removed to last year, but as the 33-year-old said: "Under the skin it is so so different."

He added: "We know the regulations haven't changed much since 2012, but they have changed enough to make a difference.

"We know how much hard work has gone into this, and we will be fighting for it (the title).

"Tuesday (the opening day of the first test in Jerez) is a big day when I first get to drive the car, and whether it is good enough to win we will have to wait and see.

"But it's been fun seeing the car being built, and then seeing it all come together late last night."

Given McLaren's anniversary year, Button added: "We all feel the history of what has been achieved.

"That's really exciting for all of us as we look to achieve more."

Perez, signed to replace Hamilton who has moved to Mercedes, is unafraid to spell out his desires for this season.

"It's been a crazy couple of months since my last race," said the former Sauber driver.

"I can't believe I'm part of this great team and family, and I'm very motivated to do well.

"As for my goal, I want to win the championship. When you come to this team it's what you have to aim for."

For team principal Martin Whitmarsh, they key this season will be to draw on some lessons they learned from Ferrari last year.

"Since 1966 we have won 182 races - more races than any other team - and 20 world championships, but recently we've not won nearly enough," said Whitmarsh.

"Last year we started and ended with the fastest car, and at various phases it was always competitive.

"But we cannot be satisfied with just winning races, we have to win championships.

"With this car there are quite a lot of changes to the car from last year's, it's quite an evolution, and already quicker than last year's car according to our simulations.

"Last year Ferrari maximised the product they had. We've worked hard on that this winter, and it's something we aim to put right."

There was one person, however, notable by his absence in technical director Paddy Lowe, who has been been strongly linked with a move to Mercedes.

With a year remaining on his contract, Lowe will be with McLaren for the forthcoming campaign, but for 2014 Whitmarsh could not say.

"Paddy will be part of the team for another year, but less certain is beyond that, and something I'm sure we'll have some certainty on in the near future," added Whitmarsh.

Asked as to his absence, Whitmarsh replied: "There is a lot of media interest.

"So it's important he carries on doing his job, and not to cause any embarrassment to his colleagues, by his own election he decided not to be here."