McLaren to launch 2011 F1 car today

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Today attention turns from Valencia to Berlin, where McLaren are set to launch their 2011 F1 challenger, the MP4-26.

I’m making my way over there and will have pictures from the launch as soon as possible. The car is being revealed at 12 noon local time, 11am GMT.

You can watch the launch live on McLaren’s website.

Meanwhile Lotus will be staying behind in Valencia for one more day of testing with their T128.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Gascoyne troubled by F1’s “boring” desert circuits (Reuters)

"Formula One would see more overtaking if it addressed the problem of boring new circuits in the Middle East, according to Team Lotus technical head Mike Gascoyne."

The Horse Whisperer – If the shoe fits… (

"Unexpectedly woken from his winter reveries, the Horse Whisperer has stumbled across some declarations in today’s papers from Mario Moretti Polegato, emanating from Valencia at the time that the Red Bull team launched its new car.

"The Horse Whisperer caught a whiff of something familiar on the wind, because it instantly revived memories of persistent offers, backed up with significant amounts of cash, made on numerous occasions by the very same Moretti Polegato to Ferrari during the course of 2010."

Senna (Adelaide Film Festival)

The film Senna will make its Adelaide premiere at the end of the month.

Thanks to GT VIRUS for the tip!

Lewis looking to rev up IMaGe (The Sun)

"Formula One star Lewis Hamilton is poised to sign with IMG. The high-profile sports management company will replace Hamilton’s father – who the McLaren driver split with a year ago – as his agents."

Sir Jackie Stewart becomes a partner in Genii Business Exchange (Genii)

"Genii Business Exchange is delighted to announce the arrival of Sir Jackie Stewart, triple F1 world champion, as a partner for the years to come.

"Sir Jackie’s mission will be to reinforce the existing commercial, technological and industrial links between the world of racing and the motor car industry, as well as Genii’s core sectors including new technologies, infotainment and cleantech related industries."

McLaren Automotive and the MP4-12C best of 2010 (YouTube)

Jenson Button (via Twitter)

"Great to be back in the car today, the main objective of the test was to understand the tyres which I think we do. Big day tomorrow! ;-)"

Associating with Brand Name Changes Behavior Even without the Product (Scientific American)

"Volunteers who drove a Red Bull car in a video came were more reckless than those who drove cars with the logos of other drinks."

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Felipe Massa had a dramatic start to testing in Valencia when his Ferrari caught fire in the first hour of running. Paul Grainger says:

Well Alonso topped the testing times yesterday but I wasn’t about to say Ferrari were on fire just yet?? until now!
Paul Grainger

From the forum

Dougy_D asks: there are too many buttons in the cockpit so at what point will the FIA say enough is enough?

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Jacques Laffite won the second race of the 1979 season in Brazil.

It was a repeat of the result in the first race at Argentina as Laffite won from pole position and set fastest lap in his Ligier. On top of that he led every lap in Interlagos, giving him a perfect result or ‘grand chelem’.

At that stage it looked like he might dominate the season but as it turned out it was his final victory of the year.

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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124 comments on “McLaren to launch 2011 F1 car today”

  1. ‘There’s nothing wrong with that car, except it’s on fire.’

    Can’t believe I didn’t think of it straight away!

    1. Lolz Icthyes, I think the topic should be on the MP4-26 and not about a red car on fire … ;)

  2. I can’t wait to see the new McLaren!! 10 hours 43 minutes to go… lol

    I hope it is as “innovative” as Whitmarsh was touting and as different as Hamilton said this week

    Roll on Bahrain… Lewis and Jenson to smash 2011!!!

    1. I just hope the livery looks a bit different! But they already said it’ll be silver and red as per usual so I’m not getting my hopes up

      1. I hope they haven’t overcomplicated again, why not do what they’re good at huh? Different failed last year, ya couldn’t set the damn thing up, or develop it at the end.

      2. I was a huge fan of the silver and red at first, but now i hope they change it slightly, it feels outdated.

        1. You mean it feals dated. The chrome and red will only be outdated when they replace it with something else.

          1. Hmm, not quite – if it went out of fashion or became obsolete for some reason, then it would be outdated; when they change it, it will be… old.

          2. Maciek, Obsolete and outdated mean the same thing. Example, If Vodafone left Mclaren they would have to get a new livery, the old livery would then be obsolete, outdated.
            So something cannot feel outdated. It either is or isn’t. Something can, on the other hand feel dated. Mclaren’s livery feels old/dated but it hasn’t been replaced/outdated… Yet. A couple of more hours until we find out.

          3. True true – though my point was more that it’s difficult to use the word outdated when talking about an old livery… in the sense that outdated and obsolete, to me anyways, usually apply to technological things, or in any case things that are actually used rather than just looked at. Anyhoo, one way or another, I think that I have officially become a word nerd.

      3. I’d like it if they did something different maybe tie in the chrome with the traditional orange or something a bit crazy. Luminous green lol

        But that said… I do like the red and chrome and its kind of the VMM identity now

  3. Looking forward to the McLaren launch. Will be interesting to see if all the rumours are true! Not going to be able to watch it live though :(

    1. I can’t wait to see it either, but like you I won’t be watching it live. It’ll be the first thing I check when I’m up in the morning though.

    2. Yep.. this is the most awaited launch of the year. Lets see if they have the game changer on their car..

  4. I would like to see that MP4-12C in a James Bond film rather than a Ford.

    1. Now that would be great.
      Not going to happen though, apparently that is one of the most expensive product placement opportunities in the world.
      Sure, Ron is not Frank Williams, but I would think he is hardly going to pay for that.

      1. I don’t know…perhaps a tie-in whereby the F1 team promotes the films in return for the car being used in the film…

        …of course I would imagine Group Lotus will also be looking to return their cars to the Bond franchise…I hear that in a move that Dany Bahar swears is nothing to do with the past that they are preparing a version of their new Esprit that turns into a Submarine… ;-)

  5. I never thought a man of Sir Jackie’s prudence would get sucked in by Lopez.

    1. Lol at that, Sir Jackie, widley recognised as the first rock star F1 driver, the first superstar in aviators.

      1. It became Jackie $tewart many years ago.

        1. Hahaha you’re right there. Great driver, better buisnessman?! Although to be fair, iirc he cut short a multi million pound deal with RBS when they in financial turmoil, so kudos to him for that

          1. Yea only after the huge public reaction when he stated he has a contract with them and isn’t willing to compromise on that.

            I think it was a decision based on damage limitation.

        2. Stewart grew up in a time when you had to maximise your earnings potential or that was it for you.

          Plus Stewart, because of his dyslexia, has always felt the need to pprove himself and be the best in everything he does. He used ti di work like this for Ford and Williams for many years, evidendtly he enjoys it and wants to cement his reputation.

          1. Icthyes, are you saying the “certified halfwit”-saga from Max was correct?

          2. Even Jackie admits Max’s comment is pretty accurate. Icthyes, I do agree with you. I don’t know whether its because in his early years he was always behind the eight ball and felt he had a point to prove, but the man does follow the dollar. My only complaint about the guy is if you’ve read one Stewart interview you’ve read them all (no disrespect Keith).:

            – Nurburgring 1968
            – Dyslexia
            – Cervert death
            – Spa, upside down with aviation fuel all over him, on ground covered in cigarettes, getting lost in an ambulance.
            – Safety.

            Boring, to the avid F1 follower yes. But to those new to the sport, they’d be all ears.

  6. Is it just me who reads those Horse Whisperer column’s and wonders if it was Luca di Montezemelo himself who penned them? Honestly, I wish Mr Whisperer would put a sock in his mouth and glue his fingers together because he does nothing for Ferrari’s credibility

    1. ner ner ner ner neeeeh, weeee didn’t want him so he went to Reeeeeedbuuuuuuuul.

      Luca? You do wonder, 5 year old? Also a possibility.

      Possibly the’re annoyed a rich italian sponsered a direct rival, they’ve gotten sickeningly patriotic recently, all that politics there supposedly getting into, an as an Englishman, nothing sicens me quite like patriotism.

      1. …as an Englishman American, nothing sickens me quite like patriotism.

        If Mental Monty isn’t penning the blog himself he’s certainly informing the writer what to post, and I find the comparison to a 5 year old as very apropos.

        1. I fail to see what patriotism has to do with it. The term makes no sense in the context of the situation.

    2. It think consensus is that its Luca.

    3. The whole the horse whisperer thing is getting kinda dull, I mean. All he spouts is crap which is obviously rubbish, and only going to appeal to the very nuttiest of Ferrari nuts.

      fallen back on the energy drink manufacturer’s company

      I wonder if Ferrari have noticed they lost to Red Bull in the two most recent championships? I don’t think Mr horsey has…

      Also, considering all the Horseman does is gossip and make dirty comments about other people and teams, Don’t you think Ferrari as a professional company would be above this? And above allowing it to be posted on their official site?

      1. Or maybe that is why he is taking it so bad. Possibly afraid, next time Bernie will want to agree with Mateschitz upfront instead of dealing with Ferrari first.

      2. Maybe they should rename the column one step away from the glue factory.

        Self indulgent nonsense would be my summary.

        Why Ferrari are that bothered is beyond me. They have at least the joint biggest budget in F1, and if they were offered and were interested they would have taken the offer.

        I’m sure Puma are happy anyway.

    4. they should rename column to horse farts

      1. :-) That would be more appropriately titled!

        1. There are lots of horse butchers in Italy, maybe someone could just call one up, say from San’t Agata and point them in the direction of the horse whisperer. ;)

    5. I read it twice and had to check the domain the article was posted on three times. Yet to understand what that driveling article is doing on Ferraris site. It makes them come of looking childish and stupid. That behavior is something I would expect to see at kindergarten. My Sponsor is better then your sponsor. My daddy didn’t like that XXX so he threw it in the trash and kept his XYZ.

      If it’s not Luca himself then I would say his trainee that is being trained to succeed him or something.

      1. I think it must be Luca himself, otherwise no sensible PR or press officer would allow something as pathetic as that on their site?

        1. I think I agree – I still don’t see the PR point of this one, others at least carried forward a ferrari point of view, this one just slags a competitors sponsor. Huh?

          It’s not like this could be due to being lost in translation or anything, it just seems an incoherent pointless rant. Maybe someone was bored.

          1. incoherent pointless rant

            Just like everything anyone working for Ferrari ever says ever?

            I had to read it twice and I’m still not entirely sure what the horse was trying to whisper. Thankfully the coherent comments by sensible people on here cleared it up for me.

  7. It will be interesting to see if maclaren show the car with any innovative ideas in full veiw…with it being a studio launch. For example; if the have a similar “blown floor” as Reanault, will they have the parts on that make it visible, or will they put dummy parts on. As if it’s not actually running, why would they bother to show their hand…

    just a thought

    1. Yeah Mach, I mean if they have highly visible innovate ideas, they’d be shooting themselves in the foot by letting the other teams know what they’re up to. I know the next test is next Tuesday, but still, every three/four days make a whole lot of difference in terms of development.

      1. I would imagine they’ll do the same as Red Bull and show standard exhausts that leave everyone thinking “well that’s conventional” only to run something different in the test.

      2. You would think that a company that’s been operating globally for almost 50 years could at least get they’re time zones right:

        McLaren Homepage
        Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 Reveal – 12pm CET, 11am UK time, 5am EST

        Eastern Standard Time is UTC-5, 11AM UK is 6AM in New York.

    2. Lews said something along the lines of the car looking different, so maybe they have things they can’t hide.

      Like a rocket nose, or bulky back end or, or…

      just a few hours

  8. Does thinks the Mclaren will be faster than the Red Bull? Personally I think the RB7 will be untouchable and Vettel will have the title sealed by October at the latest.

    1. EDIT: *does anyone think

    2. Gosh I certainly hope that won’t be the case. I hope the McLaren, the Red Bull, the Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault. I hope they are all within half a second of one another in pure pace, I want a season closer than last year, closer than 08, closer than 07 even!

    3. Never underestimate Vettel’s ability to screw up having the most dominant car.

  9. If Mclaren were developing something similar to what Renault did with the exhaust then their attempt to delay other teams having a look at it will have been defeated as the teams will already he ahead by 3days.

    1. And they should be smart enough to know it, so I thought that maybe they took that idea and did something extra.

      But it could well be the car is looking very intriguing, and then lags well behind Red Bull. I like that McLaren tends not to just copy things, like Ferrari has seemed to do these last years, but Ferrari do seem to have at least learned to copy an idea well and run with it, which gave them a more versatile and fast car at the end of last year.

      1. “And they should be smart enough to know it”.

        Well, they made the decision about delayed launch before they knew what other teams would show. They didn’t know about Renault’s exhaust back then. I guess we’ll have to wait another hour to find out what surprise they have prepared for this year.

  10. I do agree with Gascoyne,yes are cars do play a part but I think the circuits are the biggest problem why we don’t see too many overtaking nowadays.

    1. That is so true and we have even discussed such here in the past. Even take Korea for example, a new track on an open field, the track is as tight as an ordinary road in Monaco. As for Abu Dhabi, we already know the track has chicanes leading onto a hairpin.
      Those who watched the race last year will remember that on several occasions, the trailing cars will catch up with the car ahead while going through several corners, only to meet a braking zone, then you have a long straight placed after corners that forces the field to spread out.

      I just believe there is something not healthy about the Eccleston, Tilke partnership.

    2. Hats off to Gascoyne.

      While most in the paddock are scared to say anything in case it might upset their wallets, he tells it like it is.

      More of this please.

  11. ForzaLaScuderia (@)
    4th February 2011, 4:26

    Why are Mclaren, a team known for their over British-ness launching their car in Berlin?

    1. I think Mercedes still own a stake in the team & may be this have something to do with the sponsor.

    2. vodafone

      1. Vodafone are a British company though?

        1. but they have a German branch …

  12. Thanks for the meantion! Made my day :P

    FYI it’s spelt Adelaide. There are some mad people making the trip interstate from sydney just to see this!

    1. I posted about the premier last Saturday in the Round-Up… It was in The Advertiser.

      Does anyone have an idea of how many tickets, if any, are left?

      Thanks :)

    2. I posted about it too haha. I’m not sure how to check how many tickets are left, but as soon as I saw it in the guide in the Advertiser I went online and bought them to make sure :)

  13. The article about brand names and the red bull car experiment was fascinating. Scary, but fascinating.

    1. Looks like it got the better of Vettel for part of the season last year as well!

      1. Yeah, I immediately thought of Turkey.

        But I wonder what the experiment would do with a Whiskey brand?

        1. Considering the McLaren Walkers sponsor and the Force India MacKay’s sponsorship you mean?

  14. The twitter app seems to encounter some problems for me.

    Instead of showing the messages it just shows “fail#” instead (thats with Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; cs; rv: Gecko/20100401 Firefox/3.6.3 ( .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET4.0C).

  15. haha, the Horse Whisperer is back! It’s like reading a teenager’s log, he always complains about everything and everyone, the system is evil, blah blah blah…
    It’s curious that his identity is one of the few secrets that haven’t been ‘leaked’ yet. :D

  16. I notice that in the MP4-12C video part of it is at Dunsfold airfield…so that’ll be an appearance on Top Gear this series then!!

    (Also anyone notice what colour Jenson was “buying” his in…looked awfully close to Ferrari Red to me lol)

    1. To replace his Fathers sort of stolen Ferrari maybe?

      1. that the old fella got stolen by drinking so much he forgot where it was parked lol

    2. Its called Volcano Red. You can “build” your own MP4-12C with their cool online configurator.

  17. I can’t believe that i have been called to a meeting at 11 GMT, so will miss the launch … If my wife reads this,”I want a IPHONE4 asap” .. Go VMM, whatever you unveil today, you know you will have my support throughtout the season … along with all us other VMM Fans xx

  18. Can’t wait for the -26 launc today – although it’s been hyped up so muh I may be under whelmed.

    The above -12C video is great, definately worth watching just for the engine noises at Goodwood. It also makes me look forward to the launch of the new £500,000+ supercar!

    And finally, Keith – enjoy your day out at the Mclaren launcch, think how many fans would love to be in your position, you have a massive privalige and definately deserve it!! ;)

  19. I don’t recall seeing this before…

    Lewis and Jenson go camping!

    I know it’s been said many times, but they really do look like they’re good mates!!

  20. McLaren have random people bring bits of the car in to a square in Berlin

    1. Here let me help with the airbox, says a bearded man looking like adrian newey ;-)

  21. Very stange side pods!

  22. The McLaren car is in pieces? :)

    1. It’s a telephone company commercial, that’s why Berlin.. ;)

  23. it’s got weird sidepods!

    1. and a secondary airbox thing behind the first one!

  24. Anyone else watching the streaming live. They just wheeled the Macca in with no engine cover, no wheels.

    Air intakes look great. And the airbox looks interesting too.

    Very interesting to watch them knocking it up, not much surprise there :-)

  25. nice piece of theatre but those security guards are not subtle AT ALL

  26. For Gawd’s sake don’t drop a fastner lest it roll into a drain lol

  27. The nose looks slightly lower than others too

  28. less of a reveal… more of an airefix challenge…..

  29. Wonder if it is very wise to show the whole world what the inside of your car looks like?

    1. Even worse is to have 2 drivers standing there pointing at all the new special bits – act like you’ve seen a F1 car before.

    2. NO, that’s why they fittet a plastic engine mock-up complete with plastic exhaust pipe!

  30. look at the bloody sidepods!

    1. They are bloody wings.

      1. Vertical sidepods for airintake it seems – how bizzare looking

        1. The biggest step forward when it comes to design, i think,..
          Will it give them the advantage?

          1. i like their a approach to the air intake above the drivers head:

            Lotus: Copy 2010 mercedes
            Mercedes: Revert to a more traditional design

            Mclaren: do both

  31. For all the talk of the being at the factory looks like the mechanics haven’t seen the drivers in a while…

  32. anybody watching the lauch.. well its different. something goin on with the car design with the air intake up top..!?

    1. yeah I love the side pods! strange how all the other teams have a high nose, this ones quite low

      The way to reveal it by building it on the street is mental

  33. The sidepods look mean, and will channel lots of air to the diffuser, that is one thing everyone will try and copy as soon as possible!

    1. remind me a little of the benetton/ligier sidepod intake shape in the early mid 90s

  34. sidepods look mental. and the split air intake uptop.cant wait to see it on track loosk fast. really hope it is :D

    1. woah the more i look at those sidepods the more crazy they look

      1. without a doubt the most extreme looking car..!

  35. Its just a black rectangle me, live stream not working :-(

  36. The most boring launch ever…

  37. Shame they didn’t change the old mechanic and diver overalls though. The new driver caps just don’t work with it.

  38. Where are you guys seeing this new Mclaren? What website? When will F1 Fanatic be updates with pics? :)

  39. so whos going to be the 1st team to complain about the sidepods ;)

    1. it looks like something from star wars – the sidepods are massive

    2. The horse whisperer at Ferrari no doubt

  40. I think it looks absolutely brilliant. If it goes as well as it looks they will be vey fast.

    The rear is very very tightly packaged.

  41. It’s got a difusser on the front wing.

    What is it with Jenson and diffusers lol?

    1. the-muffin-man
      4th February 2011, 11:33

      Looked very much like last years front wing/nose to me.

  42. Did anyone spot the exhausts while they were putting it together?

    do they have front exit ones? I forgot to look

    1. nope normal rear facing ones

      1. from plastic, just so no-one gets any secret peeks! That was commented by McLaren in interviews after the launch event.

  43. The car may be good, but the actual launch is mind numbingly boring!

    1. More boring than watching a car pull out of a garage and drive round a track while you wait for timing updates that are in no way relevant at all. Or did you mean more boring than rendered pictures? At least they let the public near the car & drivers

      1. Yeah I thought it was original and well done. It was fun to guess what part would be put on the car next. Made a nice change from the old under the sheet style reveal.

    2. I think it was a great idea for a launch event. Just imagine winning a competiton and actually taking car bits out there to put on the car. How many fans would kill for such an

      I mean, watching Launches on TV/Internet has never been much of a thriller. Just a car beign driven/pushed/towed/lifted in view, uncovered, a few smiles, happy talk of how satisfied and exiting everyone is.

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