McLaren unveils the MP4-28

31/01/2013
NEWS STORY

McLaren has launched its 2013 contender and at the same time kicked off a year of 50th anniversary celebrations with a spectacular parade of classic racing cars at the McLaren Technology Centre.

The parade brought to life a string of race and championship winning McLarens from across the decades, included 1970's M8D Can-Am sportscar, Emerson Fittipaldi's iconic 1974 M23, Ayrton Senna's dominant 1988 MP4/4, our 1995 Le Mans-winning F1 GTR, Mika Hakkinen's MP4-13 car from 1998 and Lewis Hamilton's 2008 MP4-23.

The display culminated in the arrival of the team's 2013 race drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio 'Checo' Perez - who arrived driving a development model of our new McLaren P1TM sportscar and a 12C Spider, respectively.

According to the team, the MP4-28 is the logical culmination of everything they've ever done: the sum of 50 years' experience, expertise and passion.

The MP4-28 isn't merely a refinement of last year's seven-race-winning car, says the Woking outfit, it's a deep and sweeping re-design of an already successful chassis in several key areas - most notably around the nose and front suspension, the sidepod profiles and the rear bodywork.

Jenson Button begins his fourth season at McLaren as the team's most experienced driver. Indeed, during his time at Woking, he has won more races (eight) and scored more points (672) than during the rest of his 10-year Formula 1 career.

For 2013, he is keenly anticipating the opportunity to maximise his skill and depth of experience to spearhead the development of the car across the championship season.

"I'm going into my fourth season as a McLaren driver and, more than ever, I know and understand the strengths and abilities of this team," said Button. "This year is really about continuity and consolidation.

"Obviously, the biggest change for 2013 is my new team-mate, Checo. It's always interesting and inspiring to begin working with a new face, and it already feels like a very positive working relationship.

"I know from personal experience that it can feel initially daunting when you walk into the McLaren Technology Centre for the very first time, but I also remember how quickly I was made to feel at home and how welcoming I found the whole McLaren family. I'm sure Checo already feels very much at ease here.

"We were extremely strong throughout the whole of the 2012 season, but, for one reason or another, we couldn't quite pull it all together to challenge for the championships. That's something we want to address for 2013. I've seen just how closely everybody has been working together on this car, and I think we've got the basis for a very strong season. "We'll be working extremely hard during the pre-season to ensure we go to the first race with bulletproof reliability. Operationally, too, I think we've learned and developed from last year, and that will help us run a much smoother and stronger campaign.

"I also want to say that today's demonstration of some classic McLarens makes me feel incredibly proud to be a McLaren driver. I don't think anybody with a love for motorsport could fail to be moved by sound and fury of the cars we saw here today - they'll always make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

"This year's car is the best we've ever made - I know the engineers have left absolutely no stone unturned in wringing every ounce of performance from every available area. I cannot wait to get behind the wheel and attempt to carry forward the incredible legacy that lives beneath the skin of every single man and woman who works at McLaren."

By contrast, Perez is starting only his third season in Formula 1, aged 23. Young, eager to learn, and already impressing the team with his ability to absorb information, he is perfectly poised to benefit from the team's professionalism and experience as he develops and gathers pace during his important first season as a McLaren driver.

"For me, this is a great day," said the Mexican. "In fact, every day this year has been great: I've been working hard with my new team to get everything ready for the start of the 2013 season - and it's been an incredible journey to get to know this incredible organisation.

"I'm incredibly proud to be a McLaren driver. Seeing such famous cars brought to life today, and knowing that I'm driving for the team on it's 50th anniversary - that's such a special feeling.

"Of course, I am fully aware of the steep slope ahead of me: it has already been an intense couple of weeks, getting to grips with a new team, meeting my engineers and mechanics, learning new ways of working and, of course, learning all about a brand new car - something I'll need to do with just six days of on-track testing. It's a big challenge.

"But it's definitely going to be an exciting few weeks: although I've been racing in Formula 1 for the past two seasons, every racing car is different and it always takes a little time to adjust. Firstly, I'll need to understand the different characteristics of the car; secondly, I'll learn how to best work with my engineers to make the car suit my personal driving style. It's going to be an interesting and exciting journey.

"But I'm more prepared than I've ever been for the start of a new season. I feel extremely fit, focused and refreshed - there's still a lot to do, but my aims are to feel confident, comfortable and ready to race by the time I land in Australia in just a few weeks' time."

Check out our MP4-28 gallery, here.

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Published: 31/01/2013
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