While the past week saw some Formula 1 teams launch cars either at their headquarters or just before the start of the first winter test session, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team chose to reveal its 2011 contender in a very public setting with an exclusive audience.
Unveiled at the Postdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany, the MP4-26 was rolled out in a disassembled state with Vodafone competition winners, fans and customers carrying components into the area where the car was gradually put together. McLaren's drivers, 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton and 2009 world champion Jenson Button, then came out to add the final pieces to reveal the completed F1 car.
The MP4-26 is a radically different car from last season's MP4-25 as the team's engineers dissected the new rules that aimed at significantly limiting the amount of downforce derived from the car's underbody. Most noticeable of the changes is the distinctive U-shaped sidepods, which are designed to feed air more efficiently to the car's rear end.
Following McLaren's success as the first Formula 1 team to win a grand prix race in 2009 using the then-novel Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), the team is eager to use an all-new KERS to refine what it calls its "race-winning package."
How do you expect the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team to perform in the 2011 Formula 1 season?