McLaren to launch new car after first test

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up: McLaren launch, no HRT seat for Senna and Force India changes.


McLaren plans interim car for first test (Autosport)

“The first official test of the year takes place at Valencia from February 1-3, but McLaren will not unveil its new MP4-26 until the day after that test finishes.”

Motor racing-F1 exit looms for Senna after HRT snub (Reuters)

Colin Kolles: “I can definitely say that Mr Bruno Senna is not going to race for HRT. One hundred percent not.”

Changes behind the scenes at Force India (James Allen)

“Dominic Harlow becomes Head of Circuit Engineering, a role which is similar in scope to that of Pat Fry in the new Ferrari set-up. In addition to his role in charge of engineering operations at the races, he takes an overview role on the design and development side. Meanwhile Andy Green moves into the technical director’s chair, replacing Mark Smith, who will soon leave the team to join his mentor Mike Gascoyne at Lotus.”

Monaco To Italy With Gilles Villeneuve and Jody Scheckter: Spring, 1979 (The Race Driver)

“There are two cars in the Fiorano pits – Gilles’ T4 and a workhorse T3 fitted with lots of additional electronics. Scheckter walks quickly over to the newer car, notices – by way of its copious seat padding and maximum pedal adjustment – that it is not for him, and swears. Why is that his car is the one that’s always late?”

Comment of the day

DVC has a theory on why Juan Manuel Fangio will do well in Champion of Champions:

Luckily for Fangio all his haters are still communicating by telegraph, rather than using computers.

From the forum

Enigma asks if F1 is too easy these days?

Happy birthday!

Today’s birthday wishes go out to Michael Roberts!

On this day in F1

USF1 announced they would test their F1 car at the Barber Motorsport Park on this day last year.

Unfortunately, the team never finished their car, meaning we haven’t yet had the chance to see a modern F1 car run at the track. Shame.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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59 comments on “McLaren to launch new car after first test”

  1. Berlin is an odd place for a car launch. Then again, Virgin are launching in Moscow, but that’s because of Marussia’s influence. Are McLaren going back to their extravagant party launches?

    1. All that FOTA hot air about a joint launch event seems a long time ago now…

      1. I actually kind of liked the idea of a joint launch party. Provided it was properly structured to give everyone a decent bit of media coverage – like going backwards in order of WCC positions; Virgin would launch first, Red Bull last – it could have made for a very good function instead of the habit of unveiling the car in pit lane an hour before the first test. You could even have cities bidding for the rights to host the launch party, not unlike the Olympics.

        1. its a perfect idea.. one big night, with the first cars unveiling at 5pm, and the big guns unveiling late into the evening.. it also provides an opportunity to introduce any new technology, rules, tracks, stewards, drivers, the lot! and it sure beats a Jerez pitshed anyday

        2. Bidding is a good idea, but realistically it would always go to the Western European cities, because teams wouldn’t want to ship their new cars over to Rio or Tokyo and then back for testing a few days later.

          1. Then organise it on the eve of a test and twin that test to the city. If the unveiling is in Rio, test at Interlagos. If it’s in Tokyo, then test at Suzuka. You could keep the cars there for a second test as well to minimise costs.

            Better yet, have FOM cover the costs. They were paying $10 million to each of the new teams to help them through their first season, but now that first season is over, there’s $30 million lying around without a use. That should be enough to fly the teams out to their destination and back.

            If it happened, I’d model it on the McLaren launch parties they used to have in Valencia. Set aside a section of road with a platform at one end, like the launch gates they use at rallies. The car gets unveiled, presented to the media, and then one of the drivers does a run the length of the road, like the Renault Roadshow, and then pulls over to a space for the media to get in close. On the final day, all the cars do a demonsration run. The entire thing would be open to the public for free.

            I just reckon it would be a spectacular way to launch the season. Instead of just unveiling the car on the concrete apron of pit lane, the cars could be launched in front of the Colosseum or the Kremlin or even in Times Square.

        3. I agree PM, it’s a good idea in principle, but I don’t believe it would ever work in practice. There are too many vested interests, and while “FOTA unity” is a good line to push, especially in times of conflict with the FIA/FOM, by and large it’s an illusion.

          With that in mind, perhaps we’ll see such an event next year, when the Concorde Agreement comes up for renewal?

        4. I liked the idea as well. It would give F1 more of a complete sport image and make the teams and drivers more available to the fans.

          But I understand, that all the teams want their own moment of glory and attention, as well as to give their sponsors enough opportunity to shine.

          And wiht cars being finished at different times of the pre-season the launches would have to be only at the start of the first GP weekend (or after qualifying to allow for HRT finishing their cars) so it would be a bit of a farce anyway.

      2. The idea of a joint launch is a great idea. The reason the whole thing fell apart was because the smaller teams were worried of unequal treatment by the organisers and most of the press attention would have gone to the Big-Four teams, RedBull,and Brawn.

        1. There’s a simple solution to that: spread the event out over four days divide the twelve teams up into four groups of three, with one major team headlining each group.

          So, at 9am on Day 1, Hispania launch their car. Then at noon, Toro Rosso unveil there. And at 3pm, Ferrari show theirs off.

          On Day 2, Lotus go first at 9am. Force India are second at 12pm, and Mercedes finish the day off at 3pm.

          On Day 3, Virgin reveal their car at 9am, then Renault at midday, and McLaren at 3pm.

          Finally, on Day 4, Sauber launch at 9am, Williams have their go at noon, and Red Bull launch at 3pm, finishing the event.

          That way, every team is guaranteed at least three hours’ media coverage because the big teams unveil late in the day. The only real problem that it doesn’t address is the smaller teams not being read for the group launch on time. Ferrari might be showing their car off a few days before the first Valencia test, but Hispania say they won’t be ready until the final test.

          1. That wouldn’t really work, because Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren etc. would get all the headline coverage the next morning, not the others.

          2. It would have to be the days running up to the first GP (after Bahrain test?) and even then HRT might not have the car finsihed in time.

          3. Would be lovely, but this year it looks to me that teams are presenting their cars lately.

    2. I thought the same thing. Quite an odd choice of location, especially since it’s sandwiched between Valencia and Jerez.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen some very odd claims from other people reading too much into it (like the new McLaren uniforms). I’ve heard everything from the team netting a big German sponsor through to an engine deal with someone like VW or BMW wanting to get into the sport in 2013.

        In all likelihood, it probably has something to do with the first McLaren Automotive road car dealership being opened.

        1. The first McLaren dealership is in Germany? That’s surprising. I would’ve expected it to be in the UK, for sentimental reasons. Or in the US or Middle East (that’s where the money is!)

          1. I don’t know! I’m just saying: Berlin is an odd choice for a launch, but there’s plenty of explanations for why they might be launching there. A lot of people have been suggesting that because the launch is in Berlin, McLaren have secured a new German sponsor or done a deal with a new engine supplier. But, like the case of the rumoured livery change (based on new team merchandise and unifroms), I think people are reading too much into it. All I’m trying to do is to create a little reasonable doubt to disprove the talk of new sponsors and engine partners.

        2. I suppose it is bound to be the new german sponsor (or an existing one going bigger profile) or the opening of the Berlin shop.

    3. It doesn’t really have any sort of F1 connection (AVUS aside) but it is the biggest and best city in Europe’s biggest (and possibly best) country. Perhaps they’re trying to get back in Mercedes’ good books?

      I hope we can have a few more interesting launches this year. Since the economic crisis bit hard in 2008 I can’t think of a single launch of note. Some team needs to reunite and hire the Spice Girls again!

      1. Hmm… Actually Germany is 7th in the European area rank ;) But I agree that it has the best economy and there’s a lot of interest in motor-sports there.

      2. Vodafone Maybe ?.

  2. Round 4 of the F1 2010 PS3 F1 Fanatic Championship thingymbob takes place on Sunday at 11am GMT, and there’s apparently going to be one or two vacancies.

    Perhaps if anyone who has registered an interested in taking part on the Forum over the past few months fancies a one race cameo, let us know:

    1. Indeed, Ned. What a race we have in prospect. It was super-tight in Montreal in pre-season testing so who knows what’ll happen in the Big Race?

      Those who are interested in participating in the Pre-Qualifying session should read this post:

  3. I’m interested by the choice to launch the car just after a test is finished, especially given how important testing the new car is under current regulations. In my eyes, this could mean 2 things:
    -Either Mclaren have slightly overshot their development schedule for some reason, and had to move the launch back. There’d have to be a pretty good reason for this, given how slickly organised the team is, but maybe fighting a championship battle at the end of last season contributed.
    -Or, as the decision to run an ‘interim car’ rather than a plain old Mp4-25 seems to suggest; Mclaren have another F-duct style surprise for us and they want to give their rivals less time to copy it. Let’s wait and see anyway. I think with the regulations changing (again) next year we might see some interesting ideas from a handful of teams.

    1. The first 2011 test is the first proper test of the brand new Pirelli tyre specs.

      For all teams, this test is nothing but pounding as many hundreds of miles as they can on as many different specs of tyre and generating and gathering as much tyre data as humanly possible.

      That is not the time to have your brand new car in the garage on blocks with an oil leak, or an overheat, or a hydraulic failure – while all your rivals get ahead and pound the track.

      Take a car that has all the bugs race tested out of it, that will start on the key, for which you have a year of tyre data comparisons and do all the miles you can.
      Leave the new car to simmer in the wind tunnel for an extra week or two and bring it to later tests, when with a better handle on what the tyres are doing, you can meaningfully begin to concnetrate on your new aero.

      1. I think between the pair of you you’ve sussed out the reasons.

      2. I think the both of you have it summed up. The need to get to know the Pirrelli tyres, combined with some extra time to put new gizmos to life and hide them from the competition.

        I suppose the interim car will have the Lewis Monza engine cover (without F-duct) and probably a new front and rear wing. Possibly it will have a smaller diffusor, but that would change to much of the car to make it good for comparisons.

        Then they will get into full flow completing of the aero package to be ready in Bahrain where the tyre shape and its wake will have been incorporated.

    2. -Or, as the decision to run an ‘interim car’ rather than a plain old Mp4-25 seems to suggest; Mclaren have another F-duct style surprise for us and they want to give their rivals less time to copy it. Let’s wait and see anyway. I think with the regulations changing (again) next year we might see some interesting ideas from a handful of teams.

      If it’s like the F-duct and it involves the cockpit, it can’t be copied. McLaren were the only ones who had a true F-duct last year, because once a cockpit is homologated, it cannot be changed, except on the grounds of safety. And teams cannot make safety-related changes and incude performance-related parts.

    3. Chief Macca Fan
      11th January 2011, 14:43

      i really hope ur right about that 2nd point…remember how they delayed fduct till P1 in Bahrain

  4. What the hell is wrong with Kolles? Is he really as big a tool as as he comes across as in writing? He has no professionalism. Any other Team manager would be saying something like “Unfortunately Bruno won’t be driving for HRT this season, We would like to thank him for his hard work, dedication and patience in 2010 and wish him a competitive future” and they would say this even if they had just had a major dissagreement. Kolles on the other hand makes it sound clear that he has denied Senna a drive, when in fact it is probably Senna that has walked away.

    1. His CV list reads like an obituary for failed teams.

      He presided over the final year of Jordan.
      Midland didn’t last a season
      Spyker was also a failure.
      Got sacked by Vijay Mallya, who made him look like a rank amateur.

      While HRT is not dead, it does have the outward appearance of near death.

      The decision to bring in Karthikeyan is clearly another case of Kolles favouring mates for drives. He, Albers, Montiero, Yamamoto all have a long association with his teams. I will literally roll on the floor laughing if Albers or Montiero magically come into the fold again (I’m expecting Yamamoto to stay around).

      1. No offence dude, but your grasping at straws there.

        He presided over the final year of Jordan.

        Yeah, the final year, because things could have been turned around in that single year.

        Midland didn’t last a season

        Not true, Midland were bought out.

        Spyker was also a failure.

        Again, bought out. Which is significantly different from failing. Brawn GP was bought out as well.

        Got sacked by Vijay Mallya, who made him look like a rank amateur.

        Again, the first Force India car was built with the previous years budget (Spyker’s). No one could have done better with a small budget like that.

        Force India has had stability, something that a team requires, It’s also had a stable budget. The fact that Force India has improved is, not exactly shocking.

        When you criticise Kolles, don’t forget that when he joined HRT, they were already in trouble. The fact that HRT has survived and is looking like they will be here next year as well, is astonishing.

        1. Midland and Spyker failed and therefore where bought out.

          Honda/Brawn GP had one succesful year and managed to make a quick buck off selling it.

          Completely different situations.

        2. The last year of Jordan was actually the first year of Midland, only they were not in time to change the team name.
          The Midland years were mainly a disaster because the owner did not count on bringing enough money with him.
          Spyker had great ambitions, only to find their company so close to bancrupcy it couldn’t afford to invest what was needed as well.
          I believe Kolles was instrumental in getting Mallya to take over the team, and he did keep them running with minimal budget for years. Sounds like the perfect team principal for HRT until they find an owner who can afford some sportive ambitions

  5. Why Berlin, not England? At least it’s on a Friday (27 days away) :-)

    1. They probably have a very good reason for it. Maybe they want to unveil the car at the first McLaren road cars dealership or something.

    2. If I had to guess a reason, I’d probably ignore most of the more fanciful speculations out there, and say they are going to unveil the car at event.

      Vodafone Germany has nearly twice as many subscribers as Vodafone UK, and is 2nd placed with 34% market share. Let the valuable sponsor spread some of it’s McLarenlove and logo photo-opportunity around it’s different regions.

      If it is for Vodafone in Berlin, I’d then get an early bet on the 2012 car being unveiled by Vodafone India.

      (Having it outside the UK, also greatly diminishes the chance of the event being being crashed by a thuggish squad of unwashed students bleating and whining about corporation tax; which if so, in the current ugly fire-extinguisher throwing climate, is probably a smart but slightly cowardly move.

      … Me, I’d invite Philip Green along to do the actual unveiling and let Lewis crack the skulls of anyone that tries to superglue themselves to his new motor.)

      1. Pretty unlikely that MTC would be gatecrashed by students. For one thing it’s in the middle of nowhere, and for another it has security like Fort Knox. :)

  6. In the spirit of F1 Fanatic’s Champion of Champions, Nico Rosberg released a video of him challenging Keke to ice racing.

    1. That place really looks like an Armani website or something ;)

      I loved the video.

    2. In cooperation with Mercedes-Benz, and yet they were driving a Beemer, pretty ironic.

      1. they removed the badge from the BMW and nicely showed the merc they pulled up in though :D

  7. It’s also the first round of the F1F F12010 Xbox 360 championship at Melbourne (our living rooms) this lunchtime! Good luck to all! I shall be heading down to the track (down my stairs) sometime soon after my rigerous training session (getting out of bed).

    1. I hope everything runs successfully for you all! And get ready for the crashes – there WILL be crashes…

  8. Thanks for the Villeneuve-Scheckter story Keith!

    1. If you enjoyed it (and if you hadnt read it already) i recommend the Gerald Donaldson biography of Gilles, theres a lot of anicdotes in there just like the one Keith linked especially share between Jody & Gilles. The best being a certain Helicopter flight the 2 shared with Gilles being the Pilot. Its also the best book on Villeneuve.

      1. Thanks for the tip, I will see if I can find it somewhere.

  9. lol, I cant imagine all teams unveiling their cars on the same spot as that will make spying job very easy ;-)

    Apart from that people easily forget how corporate interest affects the teams. Look at what happened to Renault after the crash-gate ….. ING left and so did others.

    1. ING left and so did others.

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s got rid of the ugliest F1 livery the world has ever seen.

      1. Lolz Alex, I am colour-blind :(

        1. So were the people who designed the livery!

  10. Maybe Mercedes have exerted some influence hence the launch in Berlin

  11. MP4-26 is gonna be the dogs ………………………….

    Feces due to buttin conservative approach

  12. Meant to say button

  13. I think we could sadly see a few british based teams leave the country as living costs increase by the day. Cough.. 20% VAT ….cough

  14. I think that Berlin is an interesting place to launch a Mac. I am looking forward to it – they always have such good looking cars.
    Lets see if they mantain their good looking shiny silver wheels until the end of the season. They looked great when they introduced the new car, but then switched to black or geaphite and the car lost half a second a lap as a result of this.

  15. What a marvellous story about villeneuve and scheckter! Those were the days – the pre-hooning era!

  16. What a marvellous story about villeneuve and scheckter! Those were the days – the pre-hooning laws i meant to say

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