McLaren MP4-28 launch: First pictures and video

2013 F1 cars

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The McLaren MP4-28 was launched today by the team at the McLaren Technology Centre.

The MP4-28 will be raced by Jenson Button and new team mate Sergio Perez, who joins the team from Sauber.

“With Jenson and Checo, and this fantastic-looking new car, I believe we’re extremely well prepared for another competitive season,” said team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

“Jenson is driving better than ever – he’s the most experienced driver in Formula 1, but he makes every ounce of that experience count: he’s peerless in his ability to read a race and one of the very fastest drivers out there. He’s a consummate professional, too, and will revel in working hard to drive this team through the year.

“Checo joins us after a sensational 2012 season and he’s immediately proved that he’s intelligent, modest, hard-working and, make no mistake; very, very quick. Of course, there’ll be a learning curve to overcome as he gets used to our organisation, particularly during the hustle and bustle of the early-season race weekends, but he understands that we are placing no pressure on him.

“This is an exciting time for the whole team. In our 50th anniversary season, I want Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to underline why we are the finest grand prix team in the world.”

As McLaren reach their 50th anniversary this year the team displayed their racing heritage before unveiling their latest Formula One car. An M8D Can-Am sportscar began the parade of cars, followed by a 1974 M23 of the type Emerson Fittipaldi won the world championship with.

An MP4-4 from 1988, as driven by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, was followed by the 1995 Le Mans-winning F1 GTR.

The pre-launch show concluded with two Mercedes-powered cars: an MP4-13 from 1998 and the MP4-23 Lewis Hamilton used to win the 2008 world championship.

McLaren MP4-28 launch pictures

McLaren MP4-28 launch video

2013 F1 season

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Images © F1 Fanatic, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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128 comments on “McLaren MP4-28 launch: First pictures and video”

  1. It looks the same.
    But I bet it isn’t under the skin

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      31st January 2013, 11:38


    2. If you look at the image side by side it has a lot of differences.

    3. The front quarter is very different if you look.

  2. Tough to see from the first image, but did they just rollout the MP4-27 again?

    1. There’s a few minor bodywork changes, most notably around the sidepods, and there’s talk of a new suspension configuration, but that remains to be confirmed.

      But even if it is nothing more than the MP4-27 that raced in Brazil, that’s hardly a bad starting point, is it?

      1. Yeah, the new image is much better. High nose with modesty panel, front pull rod suspension, tighter rear end. Looks good.

        1. @geemac – There is no modesty panel.

          The 2012 regulations were introduced to lower noses for safety reasons (case in point: Liuzzi and Schumacher’s crash in Abu Dhabi), in preparation for the 2014 regulations, which will make lower monocoques mandatory. The nose shape of the McLaren MP4-27 is closer to what the FIA is aiming for in 2014. The FIA never expected teams to use stepped noses, but they did because it was the easiest solution. They got all the benefits of a higher monocoque, whilst fulfilling the safety criteria of the lower nose. So the FIA introduced the modesty palt for 2013 to cover it up.

          However, McLaren never used a stepped nose in 2012, because the trend in their designs was already leaning towards using lower noses and monocoques. They’ve got a huge headstart on everyone else in 2014, because this is their third year with a lower nose. They don’t have a modesty plate on the 2013 car, because they never used a stepped nose in 2012, and it makes no sense to design a car with a stepped nose for 2013 if the 2014 regualtions will remove stepped noses entirely.

          1. Yeah I know all that, but thanks for the explaination anyway! I read a tweet saying it had a modesty panel from some one respectable. The first images weren’t all that clear but it looked plausable so I took the plunge and commented that it had one. Seemed like a legitimate assumption but after looking at the images again it clearly is just the same lower nose design that McLaren have been using for the last few years.

          2. Apparently Scarbsf1 Tweeted that. Which surprises me, because he of all people would have known that McLaren have been using low noses for a decade now (with the possible exception of the MP4-25), and that the 2014 regulations call for low noses, and so McLaren abandoning that design principle for a season only to go back to it next year makes no sense.

          3. to me the nose looks higher than last year, and they have pull rod suspension. i’ll take a punt and say that here is a modesty panel.

            i dont get the argument that its not worth it to implement a high nose for just one season. 2014 rule changes are so big that all cars will be designed from scratch from the ground up. they will not share almost any parts with this years cars. i dont think that the fact that McLaren have been using lower noses than everyone is a significant advantage, given all the variables.

          4. I think it does have a modesty panel, the nose looks too high not to. If you look at the plane through the front axle, the nose is level with the top of the tyres, similar to other teams’ cars. The Mp4-27 was noticably lower at this point.

          5. Fully agree with vjanik, and @adamf184 ‘s comment below @prisoner-monkeys: not surprised you know better, but the nose is raised to max. bulkhead height, to look like it does and still be legal, there has to be a modesty panel above the structural nose.

          6. Yes bosyber, vjanik. The only thing I can thing of is people expected it to be an actual panel as its described as non structural. However it is fully integrated into the nose and paint job, you wont see it until perhaps a crash where it should break off and leave the crash tested nose structure to do its job.

          7. @prisoner-monkeys – there is a modesty panel, it is just very well disguised by the paintwork. Here is a picture that was originally posted on Ted Kravitz’s twitter and I trust his and Scarbsf1’s judgement – they are after all F1 journalists and aren’t renowned for making stuff up.

          8. Amusing that @prisoner-monkeys assumes he knows better than Scarbs on this topic!

        2. What modesty panel?

          1. There isn’t one…an incorrect assumption on my part.

          2. An incorrect assumption on my part. I was mislead by a tweet by ScarbsF1 (Craig Scarborough) which said it had one. He’s an amazing journo on the technical side so I thought it was safe to follow his lead!

          3. GeeMac you and Scarbs are quite right. There is a modesty panel. You cant see it as that is the whole point!! The chassis has been raised slightly. Last year had a blended step there isnt even that now…..due to panel hiding it. 100%

          4. Also avoiding the step is no adventage for 2014. The current regs are nose cone under 550mm, with the rest of the footwell of the monocoque as high as 625mm. 2014 nose tip is 185mm and the front bulkhead lowered to 500mm. Much much lower nose tips and fair bit lower bulkhead. Totally new concept that Mclaren would gain no advantage in if they avoided the step this year.

          5. Adam Cooper has seen an unpainted nose, with step, and no modesty panel


          6. Thanks for clearing that up @adamf184

    2. It is definitely noticeable from the side profile that the nose is higher than the MP4-27 and is perhaps high enough that the only reason there isn’t a step is because of the use of a modesty panel. I will try to obtain a rough height of the chassis and the nose and from that I’ll be better qualified to judge if a modesty panel has been used.

      1. But even if it is nothing more than the MP4-27 that raced in Brazil, that’s hardly a bad starting point, is it?

        You mean the rocketship made out which broke down every second race?

  3. It basically looks the same as last year!
    Shame it’s not Orange to celebrate 50 years of Bruce McLaren.

    1. I hope the same, maybe if they want to maintain the blings on the body, they should get a copper shine livery :D
      Lotus has better launching but no one knows which the best car :p

    2. Shame it’s not Orange to celebrate 50 years of Bruce McLaren.

      A shame?

      I’d say it’s fortunate – McLaren orange and Vodafone red would clash horribly.

      1. that colour clash, is why it would be so great

        1. People seemed to love the HRT last year with its vomit beije, white and red or whatever it was. People said it looked great! Personally, it offended my eyes. Most disgusting car I’ve seen in ages.

          1. It was red, white and gold. Not beige. The beige was used in the team’s logo, which was beige and rose pink on a white background (but never appeared on the car like that).

          2. Still looked repulsive.

        2. @baldgye – I might be colour-blind, but even I know that’s a bad idea. The colour clash would not “be so great”. It would be a wretched eyesore.

          1. hahaha yeah… it would be pretty great…

        3. @ baldgye it would be horrible, but if they were able to replace vodafone colours with orange, it’d be pretty great – see here.
          otherwise im pretty tired of mclaren livery.

      2. maybe they should change their sponsor to Orange.

    3. When they first started pulling the cover off I thought they had gone with a matte looking darker grey, but it was just the light at the front of the car.

  4. Looks like some interesting shapes on the sidepods and the radiator ducts. They look rather “pinched”?

  5. Apart from the sidepods I’m guessing that is just the mp4-27. Mclaren trying to trick the oposition?

    1. @force-maikel I believe every launch car won’t be the one we will see racing. As 2013 spec are very similar to 2012, they have worked to refine the car, and during launch people can get quite close to take pics which could please other teams.
      It’s probably why we didn’t see the Lotus with the ‘Device’ at the launch while apparently they will run it. Probably the same story at McLaren, showing the general aspect of the car but without every bit of detail …

      1. I would take a good bet that the rear difuser is a dummy part and the wings are from last years cars. They are hardly going to allow detailed photos of these important parts before the season even starts….

  6. I loved the whole lead up to the reveal with previous cars! It looks tighter towards the back(a lot of floor showing) and the side pod shape has changed a bit. Jenson sounds very excited about it and so am I!

    1. I also don’t see a pushrodd in that front suspension. That being changed makes sen se as the whole nose is lifted up. As you say @tomand95, interesting change to sice pod front radiator openings.

    2. Loved the old cars being driven in. Special thanks to whoever drove the F1 GT car came in much faster and louder than everyone else.

  7. Why are people surprised that the cars looks the same as last year? I saw alot of comments about this on the Lotus too.

    The rules havnt changed, thus, the cars wont change. Other than to refine last years ideas.

    1. +1 x 10! Reminds me of a Bon Jovi song “It’s all the same, only the names will change “

    2. +1 x 10 …..Reminds me of a Bon Jovi track ‘It’s all the same, only the names will change ” or maybe a few stickers

      1. @funkyf1 I think you would be referring to “Wanted Dead or Alive”. Good track.

    3. Agreed. I don’t know why so many people seems surprised the cars look “the same” as last year. It makes perfect sense considering that, aside for a few things, the rules are the same. Not to mention that the cars they show off at the launch are only development versions of what will actually make it on the gird. And, on top of this, 2014 will bring about big changes, which means most money and effort is probably going in that direction.

      All in all I’m perfectly satisfied with a refined version of last year’s car. And, of course, none of that ugly stepped nose.

  8. Was hoping for more of a Throwback livery but alas it’s not :(

    1. I was hoping for that too! I had my fingers crossed for red and white (especially as the drivers overalls are this colour) but unfortunately, they are persisting with the “Mclaren” (ahem, mercedes) chrome. Such a shame

  9. lol…thats the car of the last year.

  10. oh yeah! :)

  11. The exhaust area and sidepod intakes look quite different compared to last year. Just hoping that this is the year that it takes Button to his second title!

  12. Pull rod front suspension!!!!

  13. No turning vanes, old front wing, old exhaust set up… I imagine the car we see thought testing will develop quite significantly. It does look tidier at the back though, and the sidepods look quite aggressively shaped too.

  14. Where’s the Telmex sponsorship?? I guess Pérez isn’t a pay driver anymore hehe

    1. I guess the place where it says “Tooned” will be for Telmex in future. For now it’s for Lewis to read on the track!

  15. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    31st January 2013, 11:25

    The nose looks a bit like the MP4-25, in the way that it dips down towards the front.

  16. Anyone seen the presentation ?, Button looked a bit insecure and the whole introduction was a bit awkward

  17. William Brierty
    31st January 2013, 11:25

    Should’ve been called the MP4-JB! In fact the launch should’ve ended with: The MP4-JB – Never knowingly rear-limited. Achingly beautiful though.

  18. It looks very similar to last year’s 27 model, but it will be interesting to see more close up images of the side pods, rear wing and other parts. I agree, more floor showing towards the rear, etc too Jenson does seem happy about it too so we will see.

  19. Anyone notice is the lead up to the revealing on the live stream one of the hosts said the Aus GP was in South Australia and then said something about Perez coming from South America?

  20. 7th year of Vodafone Rocket Red and Chrome – just one year short of the West black and silver livery, but still a long way of the continuity of the famous white with red chevrons.

    Also noticed bigger Tag Heuer logos on the rear wing endplate and on the driver’s racesuit – that’s a deal in it’s 29th year!!

    1. Tag are going on a massive advertising and PR push here in the Middle East, the bigger branding on the car could be an extension of that programme on a more global scale. Or a reward for staying on as a team partner for so long! :p

  21. Any knowledge of the suspension setup at the front?

    1. Yep, it’s pull-rod.

  22. Apart of nose, front and rear wing and the rear part of sidepods it’s MP4/27. Which is fine because why would you change dramatically something that works so fine. I can’t wait for the first roll-out.

    This car reveal was sort of special for me since they read my tweet. Yay!

  23. Was hoping for a change in livery, not a fan of the chrome, and it’s getting a little old now

    1. I think it looks good but since Mercedes came back I’ve felt they should change. The silver is a Mercedes thing and McLaren should distance themselves from it a bit to help protect their own identity.

      1. Agreed, although perhaps their saving this for big changes next year. Hope so though, the existing livery is a bit like McLaren in some ways, how can I put this… a little boring?

  24. It’s still early days (to say the least) but I feel this might be the championship winning car. The new tyres should suit Button and this is the first time when is the undisputed team leader at McLaren. I guess McLaren have done their best to make the car to Button’s liking and we remember what happened the last time when he had a quick car where he felt absolutely comfortable.

    1. Indeed. Two years I can remember this. Obviously 2009, but also the last time he was a ‘team leader’ was 2004, in which he only finished behind the Ferraris in the final standings, in which was a dominant year for the scarlet team.

    2. The tyres will probably be a relief for him, it was not his style to be harsh on them to get into the T° range, and below the optimal T° they were degrading pretty quickly thus not taking any advantage at all being gentle with them … could be a different story this year.
      Plus he should have the devlopment going his way and we know that Jenson is someone who knows what he wants and needs. Could be him coming back to the top

  25. Interesting to see how they reverted back to the pre Abu Dhabi Young Drivers Test front wing, no more vertical fins. Weird because i thought that was one of the biggest reasons why they were so fast in Austin and Sao Paulo.

    1. I bet the front wing, coanda-exhaust elements and many other smaller aero-devices will change a lot for Australia’s season start! You don’t want to give out any small details to the opposition. But general ideas and looks – its fine, cause you can’t copy them – like the “kidney” air intakes, nosecone shape etc.

    2. @abnash To be honest, the car they launch isn’t really very useful. I doubt it has the wings and parts on it that they actually intend to use in the first test. Otherwise they are just gifting all the other teams nice close up shots of all their new ideas.

  26. Not much of a launch article. One picture?

    I’ll assume more are inbound.

    1. official images to be on the site “soon” according to McLaren

  27. Paint job is getting borring

    1. Why change what works for the sake of changing it?

    2. But its their brand image, all the way down to their road car logo. They are a much bigger company now than just the F1 team so its unlikely to change much now.

      Ferrari’s is getting really old now…why don’t they change it!?

      1. McLaren are silver because of the Mercedes engines, so no it’s not like Ferrari at all – especially seen as this is the first season McLaren are paying Mercedes for it.

        If McLaren do have a ‘traditional’ colour then it’s orange. It would certainly give them more identity than using one from another car manufacturer.

  28. The only major changes seems to be that font pull rod front suspension and the sidepods. Oh and there is no modesty panel as I’ve seen someone sugest above.

    1. There has to be. Scarbs says the Tub is at the maximum height of 625mm therefore the only legal nose is the stepped nose. As we can’t see the step it must be concealed by the modesty panel. Also, here is a picture of the new Mclaren front crash structure.

  29. Sidepods look conspicuously clean, bet there’s some gadgetry to come there at the last test

  30. The nose looks pretty much the same as last year’s, though it looks a bit lower then the nose thet finished with in 2012. Front wing lay-out is exactly the same as last year, so that will be revealed in Jerez. Front suspension is changed to pull rods, following Ferrari’s 2012 car and the 2001 Minardi.

    Side pods intakes have changed, as there is a ‘dent’ on it to create a vortex, probably to aid the exhaust flow (could be a replacement for the Star Wars wings surrounding the side pod in 2012). Though the exhaust lay-out will change before the Jerez test, they seem to stick to their old Coanda exhaust, with side pod flow crossing below the exhaust flow. The aft part of the lower wishbone covers the drive shaft, copying Red Bull.

    Has anyone seen how awesome Perez’s helmet is?

    1. Regarding the sidepod inlets: on launch spec, the left and right inlets differ – even the mirrors are asymmetric! My guess is that the right side of the car is more accurate than the left side.

      1. No they aren’t. It’s a trick of the light/camera angle.

        1. Yeah, I realized just after posting that. Mirrors however are asymmetric.

    2. @andae23

      Has anyone seen how awesome Perez’s helmet is?

      It was already very good to start with, but a link to his new design would be very much appreciated.

        1. The right side of Jensons helmet is a bit awkward, but i guess bj can mean a lot of things

          1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            31st January 2013, 18:32

            @bag0 hahaha LOL great one!

    3. Helmet link

      Sorry about that, it’s like describing a TV program to someone over the phone :/

      1. William Brierty
        31st January 2013, 15:51

        Looks very, erm… Hamilton-esque!

  31. Why must they mount their car on a silly angled plinth every year?

    1. @spawinte – So that everyone in the media gallery gets a better look at the car.

  32. f1 liveries are becoming very stale
    red bull have used the same livery since they entered in 2005 (give or take a few minor details)
    mclaren have used the same livery since 2006 (so thats only a year fresher than red bulls)
    ferrari…well theyre never going to be anything but red but the shape of the car tends to differ a lot from year to year which keeps them looking a little fresher (it would be nice to see the white of the santander disappear like the 2009 car)

    i know with sponsors changing the livery can be a little complicated to change but come on f1 teams, lets see a little variation

    1. i dont see football fans wanting a different jersey for their team every year.

      teams have to build a visual identity, and some continuity in livery is ok with me. i dont believe in changing a livery just for the sake of it. change it if it looks bad, but not just because you’re bored.

      with McLaren i agree that they should change it given that Mercedes is back in F1. I was expecting Mercedes to take over the silver arrows livery and McLaren adopting a new one in 2010 (Maybe going back to one of their previous colour schemes).

      But i wouldn’t call F1 liveries stale.

      1. you can have continuity without keeping the identical livery, although i personally love the way the renault/lotus team have changed from 2006 til now. For instance the new lotus livery continues from last year without being identical (with the addition of the colour red) would we really want the liveries the teams are running today to be identical to the ones theyre running in 20 years from now? surely not. The mclaren was unveiled and even the drivers commented on how similar it looked, if all unveiling’s are as disappointing as that one then they might aswel just show them to the public at the first test, taking the sheet off the show a car that looks the same as last years is so disappointing.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          31st January 2013, 13:29

          I agree – the team’s colours shouldn’t change for no reason but an updated livery is always a way IMO to freshen things up. Marussia are a good example of this as are Lotus – slightly different each year but still are instantly recognisable.

          McLaren still looks nice but the wow factor has completely gone for me – it all just feels a bit stale.

  33. This is the first year in a long while I’ve not been excited about the car launches. It all seems a little theatrical rolling out a car that’s clearly nothing similar to the one that’ll be used in the test on Tuesday or the first race.

    I’ll be more excited come the first test. That’s when we’ll can all hunker down and do some new parts spotting.

  34. petebaldwin (@)
    31st January 2013, 13:24

    Nevermind what turns up at the first race, the car that turns up at the first test will look completely different to this one.

    This launches are becoming more of a livery launch as opposed to a new car! They created a new front wing that was better towards the end of last season yet they’ve got the older one on here. Not a chance that’ll get anywhere near the track!

  35. Nice sidepod! Strange how a couple of years can take it from a U shape to…whatever that is, that’ll be the EBD ban creating grief.

  36. I do sometimes wonder why teams go to all the trouble of having elaborate ‘launch’ events when the car being revealed is so far removed from that which will be tested and raced. I understand the covert nature of the industry, but surely, these events are nothing more than ways of maintaining Moet’s share price!

    Having said that… it is quite entertaining trying to find subtle differences from the previous iteration. One thing is certain. We should notice a difference next year!

  37. Whitmarsh really likes Sergio Perez doesn’t he! And the excuses are already there. But if the “hustle and bustle” means he can’t perform at his best I would be very worried!

    Good luck to the man though!

  38. OK, so it looks like last years car because the rules are so similar.
    But why would any team want to show their competitors some special piece of aerodynamics at this stage? If you can get away with “what we have all seen before”, you might as well.

  39. Has anyone else noticed that they have gone all BGP001 with the mirrors?

    1. Yeh thats the first thing i thought too when i saw them

  40. Why don’t they call Sergio Sergio?

    1. Having an F1 driver in my favourite team with my name is more than a 1 000 000 to 1 scenario. Was already rubbing my hands in buying a Sergio Perez Mclaren Cap or jacket, but if it has Checo on it, I will be very disappointed… (My name is REALLY Sergio Perez)

  41. Adam Cooper has confirmed that it does have a stepped nose.

    The new McLaren has a stepped nose — we know because there’s an unpainted one visible through the window of the composite shop!

    However it’s hidden of course by the ‘vanity panel’, in effect a hollow section at the top of the nose. Tap it and you can tell..

  42. It is a brave thing to say that 2013 car is a bullet proof while using a completely different front end linkage suspension! Isn’t it?

  43. Hmm, this doesn’t reveal much. Vanilla diffusor, no rear brake assemblies, black panel around exhausts will definately be removed and replaced with something interesting, no turning veins under the nose, pre Austin 2012 front wing, Pod Winglets not present (yet). This car is incomplete so can’t wait for the 3rd test to see how it really looks.

  44. For those who assume otherwise, there is indeed a modesty panel on the McLaren. They have switched to a higher chassis for this year. The reason u do not see the modesty panel is because it is blended to the front nose cone. Scarbs has a photo of the McLaren nose cone without the modesty panel blended. The mdesty panel does not need to be a separate piece.

    1. Do you have a link to it?

      1. Must be referring to this

  45. Here’s an image for anyone that’s saying it’s the same car as last year.

    1. Thanks for that! Some really good insight from Scarbs there.

  46. interesting there is no telmex branding sponsoring perez

    1. @nope those funds have stayed with Sauber, the main reason why Guitierez was hired.

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