McLaren-Honda have officially launched their 2015 Formula One car, the MP4-30 that they hope will bring them back to the front of the sport after teaming up with Honda for the first time since 1992.
McLaren-Honda – the name evokes stirring memories of the past; of Ayrton Senna battling Alain Prost for supremacy; of classic red and white machines dominating for season upon season; of an iconic team writing one of the defining chapters in the motor racing history books. Reuniting such an illustrious partnership brings with it the heavy weight of expectation, but all at McLaren and Honda are working to write a fresh chapter in Formula 1, one that respectfully nods to the past, but boldly looks to the horizon. Today’s reveal of the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 –
McLaren’s first Honda-powered car for 23 years – speaks volumes about the progressive nature of both companies. It is a thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren, it is the only chassis on the grid to be fitted with Honda’s RA615H Hybrid power unit, and it features an evolved colour scheme that firmly contextualises McLaren’s brand in the 21st century.
MP4-30 – new technical DNA in the mix In 2015 McLaren-Honda intends to maintain the momentum it achieved during the second half of 2014, when an intensive technical development programme for the MP4-29 allowed the team to establish a solid position within the chasing pack.
Relatively stable technical regulations between seasons have permitted our engineers to evolve some of the newer philosophies explored on last year’s season-ending car while also adding some exciting new technical DNA into the mix.
Moreover, our restructured and strengthened engineering departments have gained the conviction to embark on a number of changes of direction. With that in mind, the MP4-30 has been developed to provide us with the most effective and practical base package. It is a foundation – offering up a number of new exploratory development paths for our engineers, aerodynamicists and drivers to pursue during the season, and on into next year.
The car has been aerodynamically developed over the winter, and the result is a pretty, elegant design with a refined nose-box solution, slimmed rear-end packaging – particularly around the gearbox – and the incorporation of an all-new power unit under its tightly contoured bodywork.
The new car looks striking in its charcoal grey and red lined livery going back to the retro look of the late 1990’s early 2000’s.
Fernando Alonso will debut the new car when testing gets underway on Sunday in Jerez, Spain. Speaking about the new car, Fernando Alonso stated:
'Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season. I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda.
I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season. “Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership. We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together.
My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal. “Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development.
Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package. It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career. I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car. “Last but not least, I’m excited to be sitting alongside Jenson [Button], a great team-mate and a very experienced competitor. Together we’ll push the team forward, to learn, to progress, and eventually to achieve the best possible results together. We are ready for the new era.'
Jenson Button heads into his sixth season with McLaren and is excited by the opportunity to embark on the new era with Honda. Speaking at the launch of the new car, the 2009 world champion stated:
'The off-season has really brought about a sense of renewal coming into 2015 – continuing my relationship with McLaren, getting married, and now embarking on such an exciting chapter: McLaren’s new partnership with Honda.
I’ve trained hard over the winter, and I’m absolutely itching to get going in the new McLarenHonda MP4-30. “It’s been interesting to spend time in the factory during the past few weeks: you can really sense a feeling of reignited optimism and positivity around the building. I’ve never seen such motivation amongst the guys – we’re all massively keen to get going in Jerez and to work hard on developing our new car.
But we’re under no illusion that it will be easy – there’s a huge challenge ahead of us to try to pull back the gap to our rivals, but we’re certainly up for it. We ended last season with great momentum and clear progress, and I’m determined to carry that forward into 2015.
“I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Fernando [Alonso], and I’m confident that our joint experience on track will pay dividends in our development race to get our team back to the front of the grid. I’m hugely motivated to make more history in this new McLaren-Honda era.'
Kevin Magnussen remains at the McLaren Honda as third driver following his Formula One debut with the Woking based outfit in 2014. Speaking at the launch of the new car, the Dane stated:
'Although, naturally, I was disappointed to not be selected for a McLaren-Honda race seat for 2015, I’ve put it behind me and I’m now fully focused on the year ahead.
“McLaren-Honda evokes so many great memories in race fans all over the world, and I’m really proud to be a part of this team at the restart of such an important and historic partnership.
My new role as McLaren-Honda’s test and reserve driver is a really important responsibility, and I’m determined to prove my abilities and show what I can do not only on track, but also behind the scenes in the simulator, analysing the data and giving valuable feedback to the engineers.
Our fight back to the front of the grid is our main focus, so it’s going to be down to me to work really hard to develop the MP4-30 and make a real difference to its performance in Fernando’s and Jenson’s hands.
“My aim is, of course, to return to a Formula 1 race seat as soon as possible, so I’ll be giving it 100 per cent, both on track and off it, to build on my last year’s experience, to show what I know I’m capable of, and to reward the McLaren-Honda team’s faith in me by keeping me on board.'
Chairman and Chief Executive of the McLaren Technology Group, Ron Dennis stated:
“McLaren Technology Group is driven by the relentless pursuit of technological perfection, and, perhaps more than any other element of our portfolio, Formula 1, which is the remit and responsibility of McLaren Racing, and now McLaren-Honda, most famously epitomises that. “McLaren-Honda is a partnership focused on performance, technology and innovation, and there’s no better example of that than the results achieved in our first collaboration in the 1980s and 1990s.
I was Team Principal all those years ago and, while I don’t tend to like looking back to the past, our previous record of sustained success was certainly instrumental in creating the confidence to make the decision to partner with Honda again. Now, there’s real hunger to demonstrate the capabilities of the huge talent pool we share between us, and I’m totally committed to driving progress and achieving further success.
“Although our renewed alliance began again many months ago, the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 marks the start of a lengthy journey.
We’ve come a long way already and, although there’s a lot of work to do before we can expect to repeat the level of success we enjoyed together 25-or-so years ago, it’s already clear that there’s enormous synergy and potential in our partnership, and I’m positive that, together, we’ll get to where we want to be: winning Grands Prix and eventually World Championships as McLaren-Honda.”
McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier has been in the role for almost a year and is looking forward to working with Honda saying that McLaren and the Japanese manufacturer are fully integrated. Boullier stated:
'The start of the 2015 season is actually the culmination of a period of great change, and change for the better, plus a huge amount of hard work from everyone in our team.
“It’s almost a year since I arrived in Woking, and, together with Ron and Jonathan [Neale, Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Racing], began an extensive restructure within McLaren Racing.
We’re now seeing the benefits of that extensive restructure, and the result is a strengthened, skilled and efficient team, characterised by undimmed commitment from everyone throughout our organisation.
“For a team with such incredible heritage as McLaren, being able to build on our past successes is hugely important to us. It’ll take time to attain the levels of success we aspire to, but you may rest assured that, in concert with Honda, we are totally focused on fulfilling the potential of our exciting new partnership. “I firmly believe that our team is stronger than ever, and that it’s in the best possible position to push the development of the MP4-30 forward.
Progress is our purpose, and we’ve seen firm evidence of that from the very beginning of our renewed relationship. We acknowledge that our journey will require a huge amount of hard work, dedication and application from everyone involved, in both Woking and Sakura, but we’re ready.'
Honda return to Formula One in 2015 for the first time since 2008 when Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello drove for the works. The Japanese manufacturer are delighted to have formed a new partnership with McLaren who they enjoyed so much success with in the past.
Speaking about the new partnership, Senior Managing Officer of Honda R&D Co Ltd Chief Officer of Motorsport stated:
'Today is obviously a very exciting day for me and for Honda. It’s not every day that you’re involved in a launch of a new Formula 1 car and a start-up of a new partnership.
“As you can see with the new MP4-30, we’ve dedicated ourselves as one team with McLaren to creating a new car that compromises on nothing – either power or aerodynamics. “Yet, in the midst of the excitement, both myself and our engineers are 100 per cent focused in both Sakura and Milton Keynes to prepare for Jerez and beyond.
We’re confident that the technology is there, and I’m looking forward to see how it will perform. “We’re about to commence a long season, with numerous challenges, but Honda is determined to face them head-on. After all, we’re here to drive Formula 1’s technology forward and give our fans a thrilling ride.'
© Ben Johnston 2015