McLaren has shown the first pictures of its MP4-29, showing, as expected, a not very pretty nose.
Intriguingly Martin Whitmarsh is not quoted in the media kit accompanying the launch, with managing director Jonathan Neale and sporting director Sam Michael doing the talking. It’s believed that Whitmarsh will no longer be team principal, with former Lotus boss Eric Boullier tipped to take over.
“We’ve made no secret of our disappointment at how the 2013 season turned out,” said Michael. “The aim now is to get back to winning – that’s what McLaren exists to do – but there’s a certain amount of growth and regrowth that needs to take place before we return to a position where we can challenge for the world championship.
“The good thing is that we’ve acknowledged that, and we’ve actually been working towards that goal for many months now. We have Honda waiting in the wings, we have a number of key technical staff bolstering our existing design and engineering teams, and we are fostering the careers of our young drivers, all of whom have an incredible amount of potential. The future for McLaren is bright, and we’re now putting in place the processes that will move us closer to our goals.”
Regarding the team’s hopes for this year he said: “For 2014, our aim is for continuous development; we’ll be refining and strengthening the car and the organisation throughout the year, so you’ll see a rapid turnover of parts and ideas on the car as we, like every team, wrestle with the many unique challenges of these new regulations.
“More immediately, our aim is to enjoy a smooth winter at all three tests, hopefully learning a lot as we go, and hopefully developing MP4-29 into something consistent, useable and quick.
“I think the key to the first quarter of the season could well be consistency. It’ll be critical in the pre-season tests – firstly, to enable the drivers and engineers to learn about and understand the behavior of the new car; but, secondly, to provide us with the mileage and data our designers at the MTC need to further refine and develop the car for the year ahead.
“It’ll be a season of complexity and subtlety; we won’t find ourselves in a situation where the guy who wins the first race goes on to win the championship, I think it’ll be unpredictable and exciting – and that’s fantastic news for Formula 1’s fans.
“One thing is for certain, though, there’ll be a lot of cross-pollination of ideas during the season as the best concepts and solutions proliferate. We’re proud of some of the concepts we’ll be introducing with this car but, likewise, there’ll be areas where we can learn and improve.”