From its headquarters in Woking, Uk, McLaren Racing pulled off the covers of its 2022 challenger, revealing the brand new MCL36 powered by Mercedes-AMG, Friday.
The event showcased the physical car painted in bold Fluro papaya and light blue colors, designed and built to meet the new set of regulations established by the FIA and F1, aiming to bring competition closer within the field.
In that regard, James Key, Technical Director, McLaren Formula 1 team, commented: “A new era of regulations is always an exciting moment in our sport. With it comes the potential to totally re-evaluate the philosophy of our package and these rule changes are no different.”
As expected, the MCL36A is completely different from its predecessor, the MCL35M, sharing the Mercedes-AMG F1 power unit in common, a successful collaboration set to run until at least the 2024 season.
The British squad literally began to work on the new challenger from scratch, as Key further addressed: “With a blank sheet of paper, the team here at McLaren has been working hard to establish a competitive platform for this and future seasons. However, we know we’ve only just begun to unlock performance from this regulation set and that one of the key features of the 2022 season will be the intense development war as teams assess each other’s designs and innovate new ways of generating downforce through ground-effect.”
Adding: “It’s been some time since ground-effect had such a predominant role in Formula 1, but it provides a great potential to create closer and more exciting racing with these new regulations.”
On its journey towards world championships contention, the team lays on continuity and stability, retaining both drivers.
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will first hit the track at the wheel of the MCL36A at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for a filming day ahead of three days of pre-season shakedown in the Spanish circuit, set to run from February 23-25, aiming to collect valuable data for the team.
Earlier this week, the team announced Norris signed a new four-year contract extension valid through to the end of 2025.
“It feels like a long time since we were last on track in Abu Dhabi, and I can’t wait to get back in a car and put the MCL36 through its paces. Last year was my best in Formula 1 so far, and I’m really proud of what I achieved as a driver and what we achieved as a team. But I know that the best is yet to come,” Norris outlined.
“I’m in a good position heading into this year to build on the successes of 2021. I’ve grown up alongside McLaren, and I’m really delighted to have recently confirmed my long-term future with the team. Together, I’m looking forward to finding out what we can achieve.”
Ricciardo, who joined McLaren from Renault ahead of the 2021 season, agreed on a new multi-year deal, extending his contract until at least the end of 2023.
“There’s always a nervous excitement around the start of the new season, but that’s turned up to 11 when you enter a new era of regulations. Having been through several regulation changes now, I feel like I’m able to use that energy to help me adapt to new cars, new ways of driving, and ultimately new ways of racing.”
“These new cars will feel very different to the previous eras I’ve driven, but I’m hopeful that will come with closer racing and more opportunities to get to the front of the pack,” the 32-year-old assessed.
Last year, the Australian driver won the Italian Grand Prix held in Monza, capturing McLaren’s first victory in the series since 2012 (turbo era), also leading his teammate to a one-two finish.
The greatly celebrated moment marked Ricciardo’s first victory since 2018, becoming an eight-time Formula One Grand Prix winner.
After getting the checkered flag, he shared a clear message from the radio: “For anyone who thought I’d left, I never left. I just moved aside for a while.”
Speaking about McLaren’s pairing, Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren Formula 1 team, said: “Lando’s performance in 2021 was one of the standouts of the season, with four podium finishes and a pole position. He came agonizingly close to his first race victory, and although we didn’t quite achieve that, he’s proven to the world that he can become a grand prix winner.”
Further stressing: “After finding it harder to adapt to the MCL35M than he might have expected, Daniel rallied to a strong finish in the second half of the season and captured McLaren’s first win since 2012.
“Together, Lando and Daniel comprise one of the most competitive driver line-ups in the sport. We can’t wait to see what they can do with the MCL36, into which every member of the team in Woking has poured enormous amounts of effort, passion, and determination.”
The legacy of Bruce McLaren’s team boasts eight constructors’ titles and 12 drivers’ championships since its first entry in 1966 at the Monaco Grand Prix.
Formula One official pre-season testing will be taking place in Sakhir, Bahrain, from March 10-12 at the International Circuit ahead of the season opener, the Bahrain Grand Prix, on March 20.