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McLaren unveils the MP4-26

NEWS STORY
04/02/2011

In a unique event attended by hundreds of fans, McLaren this morning brought together members of the public to construct and reveal its new MP4-26 chassis, the team's challenger for the 2011 season.

Revealed at Berlin's Potsdamer Platz, the famous public space that sits on the fringe of the old Berlin Wall, the car was built up by dozens of Vodafone competition-winners, fans and customers carrying components into the arena, where the new chassis was gradually pieced together in front of a huge crowd.

This culminated in the team's drivers - 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton and 2009 world champion Jenson Button - assembling the very final pieces to reveal the completed racecar.

Looking radically different from last year's race-winning chassis, MP4-26 features a range of aerodynamic features designed to take advantage of new rules significantly limiting the amount of downforce that can be derived from the car's underbody.

These most notably include distinctive U-shaped sidepods - to feed air more efficiently to the car's rear-end - and an electronically adjustable rear-wing system, introduced for 2011 to increase the potential for overtaking.

Beneath the skin, the car houses an all-new electric hybrid system. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, along with our engine partners Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, became the first-ever Formula 1 team to win a grand prix using a hybrid device in 2009, and this new system is expected to further refine that race-winning package.

The team continues for 2011 with the proven driver pairing of world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Between them, they helped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to five grands prix victories, three one-two results and second overall in the 2010 constructors' championship.

Following today's launch, Gary Paffett will shake down MP4-26 during a private session at the Idiada Proving Ground in Spain on Tuesday before the team begins track testing at the Circuito de Jerez on Thursday.

"It's great to see how many fans braved the Berlin weather to come to today's event," said Hamilton. "I hope it's been an exciting day for everyone: I think people saw a unique way of revealing our 2010 car, something that's never been done before. I hope the car proves just as innovative once we take to the track next week.

"I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind. I've spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.

"Having spent the past few weeks talking with our designers and engineers, I feel extremely happy that we've created a car that will once again allow us to fight at the front.

"This will be my fifth season in Formula 1. I'm an experienced driver now, and I've won the world championship, scored lots of pole positions and taken many race wins. So my aim for this year is to ensure that everything comes together in the best possible way and that, like last year, I'm able to fight for the title right down to the final race.

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