Just 24 hours after the world saw the second 2009 Formula One car to be unveiled, today is the turn of McLaren. With the wraps being taken off at the team’s Woking factory, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were confident that the new car will enable the 2008 runners-up to continue winning and extend Hamilton’s reign as world champion. We briefly saw the interim MP4-24 at a pre-Christmas test, but today the team released photographs and details of their 2009 challenger.
Although McLaren have been on a winning streak in recent seasons, they are yet to reclaim the constructors title, last won in 1998 when Mika Hakkinen also took his first of two drivers titles. Since then the McLaren cars have been mostly winners, but reliability issues in the early-to-mid 2000s plagued the team. However, 2007 marked a changed in fortune and with Lewis Hamilton arriving to replace the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren’s confidence grew.
Hamilton’s dream was realised last season when in a nail-biting finale to the season, the young Briton took the drivers title by passing Timo Glock at the penultimate corner and earning that one vital extra point. Carrying the number 1 on the front of his car this year, Hamilton will be hoping for a chance to take a second title. However, at the launch Lewis seemed more appealed by the looks of it.
This is the first time I’ve seen it fully put together and it looks beautiful. The team manages to always put together a stunning car and it’s great to see the final outcome of the work that has gone on. Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton also spoke of the emotion of seeing the completed package for the first time and the chassis bearing the number 1 on the front and sides.
The arrival of a new car is always an emotional moment for any racing driver – and the unveiling of MP4-24 is even more special for me, not only because the car looks absolutely stunning but also because it carries the number one. I believe this year’s World Championship is open, given the new rule changes and that’s a great prospect for every Formula 1 fan. Personally, I’m hoping for another successful season and the chance to once again fight for the title – until the final race if necessary, but preferably before. Lewis Hamilton.
Team boss Ron Dennis described the new McLaren (in typical Ron-speak) as “a car correctly conceptualised”, and highlighted the increased amount of work needed to develop the MP4-24 due top the change in regulations for the 2009 season.
Extensive rule changes require extensive amount of work – these are the biggest rules changes we have seen in 15 years.
That requires the technologists in our organisation, they are not just engineers but scientist with high qualifications, to go back to a plain piece of paper and conceptualising what the fundamental requirement are for the regulations.
It is there you can get it wrong because if you get it wrong no amount of development can sort it out. What you see in the MP4-24 is a car correctly conceptualised.
As ever, we exist to win and our target remains the successful acquisition of both this year’s Drivers’ and Constructors’ world titles. Ron Dennis.
With McLaren believed to be ahead of Ferrari with the development of KERS, 2009 could be the year that the Woking-squad take back the constructors championship. But that will remain an unknown at least until the car makes its first run next week at the Portimao test. Experienced test driver Pedro De La Rosa will conduct the first two day’s of testing in Portugal next week where the challenger will undergo its first shakedown alongside three other teams.
Photos © McLaren.