The 2021 McLaren MCL35M was the first and perhaps most anticipated launch of the year. Other teams are sticking with the same engine supplier and because of technical freezes and development restrictions, largely the same cars. However, McLaren have switched their power unit supplier to Mercedes and this has necessitated a larger redesign than their rivals.
Starting the broadcast, Lando Norris said he was looking forward to the year ahead, this being his third season in the Woking squad.
He said he is looking forward to "learning from someone different, someone with podiums and wins," referring to his new teammate, popular Australian racer Daniel Ricciardo. "Everyone is motivated to make the next step, to get us back to winning races," Lando continued.
Daniel Ricciardo was beaming as he emerged at the launch from a matte black McLaren P1.
"I was very impressed with what the team had done over the last few years, I was excited to become a part of it. One of the first gifts I bought myself as an F1 driver was a McLaren road car. Being a Red Bull driver I had to keep it a secret a while," joked the affable Aussie.
Low-key launch masks high hopes at McLaren
The launch itself was a low-key affair at the McLaren Technology Centre1 in Woking. It's a far cry from the McLaren launches of the 90s, when entertainment included the Spice Girls and Jamiroquai and hosts included British TV personality Davina McCall.
The car appears to bear many similarities to the 2020 machine, but key differences are evident even at this early stage.
Incorporating the Mercedes power unit and gearbox has prompted a substantial redesign at the rear, as well as a reduced floor area. The Mercedes engine packaging is smaller than the previous Renault power unit McLaren used last year.
McLaren fans will be hoping to get further glimpses of the car, this time on track, as the team plans to do some filming in the new vehicle at Silverstone this week.