McLaren MP4-31: First pictures revealed

2016 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

The first pictures of McLaren’s new MP4-31 have appeared online.

The Honda-powered team face a crucial 2016 campaign after enduring their worst season since 1980 last year.

However the team’s torrid 2015 season has not dented the team’s confidence in its engine supplier.

“Believe me: the full works backing of a multinational automotive manufacturer is the only platform from which real success in modern Formula One can be achieved,” said executive director Ron Dennis.

“As McLaren-Honda, therefore, we’ve vowed to work together, and to win together, and that determination has become further cemented as our relationship has deepened through the shared challenges we faced last year. ”

However Dennis declined to make predictions about when the team would win a race – something it hasn’t done since in 2012.

“As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win,” he said.

“We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.”

As well as featuring the taller sidepod crash structures familiar to all the 2016 cars revealed so far, the new McLaren also appears to have an S-duct in its nose. While the team had vowed to stick with its ‘size zero’ power unit, the rear packaging of the MP4-31 appears no narrower than it was last year, and may be slightly wider.

Beneath the skin Honda have used the winter break to address some of the fundamental shortcomings of its previous power unit for its new RA616H.

“Learning from last year, we’ve made changes to the compressor and other hardware of the power unit during the break, maturing our overall concept from last year,” said Honda motorsport shief Yasuhisa Arai. “Our focus will be to test the car’s balance with the new chassis and power unit, and specifically the ERS direction during the eight days of winter testing.”

New branding from Chandon and Richard Mille, which was announced yesterday, also features on the car.

McLaren MP4-31 pictures

McLaren MP4-31 video

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

77 comments on “McLaren MP4-31: First pictures revealed”

  1. Looks predatory..
    Looks kinda differente from the already revealed cars.
    I expect great things from this one

    1. You expect “great things” based on what exactly?

      1. Based on hard work of hundreds of people at MTC and Honda. MTC work is mostly influenced and lead by Peter Prodromou, a long time coworker of Adrian Newey. I don’t think his creativity is up to Adrians but he learned a lot, I mean a lot working with him. Hence you can expect a lot of Neweyish thinking in McLaren’s design. Which is as a rule a ( bloody ) good thing. Honda got the grasp of their conceptual issues and is on the right path of development. Is there anything else you might need to be convinced? Just let us know ;-)

        1. All that applied to last year car, other than Prodromou. And it was the worst performance of a top team in the last 30 years.

  2. At the moment I couldn’t care less about the colour of car, so here’s hoping to see it at the front of the pack, or at least not in the back…

  3. Thank god they got rid of the silly stripe in the nose and they put those big numbers! It looks really nice now, save for the finger nose, as usual.
    I just hope they can challenge for regular points at least.

    1. Nicholas Bainbridge
      21st February 2016, 2:22

      The last one got points. If they do worse than that, Vandoorn will be in for Aus.

  4. Why on earth does the front number font look like it’s been vertically stretched beyond the point of reason?

    Aside from that, it looks nice.

    1. @rjoconnell Its a matter of perspective. From a front on view it will look normal, but because of the steep angle of the front nose, the top down view looks out of shape.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        21st February 2016, 6:57

        Which would be fine if the sponsors (or in the nose’s case, suppliers) played the same game. But because they don’t, it looks cartoony. Not necessarily bad, just a tad daft.

    2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
      21st February 2016, 15:35

      I think it resembles some sort of japanese calligraphy, maybe that was the intention? Doesn’t look too bad.

  5. Is this THE livery that will be used in 2016, or just a car launch? I can’t keep up with all these “Livery Launch” vs “Car Launch” details :P

  6. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    21st February 2016, 0:00

    They should have used the red-striped tyre for the photoshoot.

    1. Do Pirelli mandate the use of the soft tyres for the launch? Ferrari would have looked better with the super softs or the mediums, and Williams with the mediums.

    2. Removing the sheet while unveiling the car causes too much degradation on the super-softs.

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        21st February 2016, 12:16

        Hahahaha +1

  7. it’s not a looker is it

  8. Should be white where it is graphite. Looks like quite a tidy evolution. Let’s see what it does. I’m hoping they can get somewhere back near the front.

  9. All of the F1 cars seem to look worse & worse as the years go by.
    That front wing may be good for aero but it looks ridiculous.

    1. I agree. Nothing comes anywhere near as pleasing to the eye as all the curves and sleekness of F1 cars of the early 90’s. (Or maybe I am just ooooold) The hybrid tech in today’s cars is impressive and, intellectually, so is the aero. Still, I wish they’d look more aesthetically pleasing.
      One can only hope this years crop of boxy, fiddly front winged, uber ugly front nosed cars will look better at speed. Some close racing would be great too.

  10. Livery is still a bit dull in my opinion, but ah well I’m not surprised. The car is so slim at the back, absolute madness!

  11. The abrupt angle where the nose is attached to the main cockpit does look weird to me, and not fast. However, I shouldn´t pretend I´ve got any idea of how this will work or why they´ve done it. Not expecting them to play a meaningful role this year anyway, but the proper black (instead of a grey-shade) is nice.

  12. looks terrible.
    what’s the deal with black, grey and white cars? not just in f1, in general. it must be 80% of all cars that are one of those colours. boring, unimaginative and it makes a car less appealing. colours make things better.

    1. @rigi Agree with you about white and gray, disagree about black. Black cars look mean and predatory the way a racing car should look. Some of the iconic “bad” cars in modern culture were black(think Mad Max’s Pursuit Special as a perfect example). When it’s mixed up with red like here it’s even better. Red is a mean color too. It looks menacing in a way the new Ferrari, for example, with all that white added, just isn’t

  13. Actually I find it pretty agricultural with the major emphasis on cooling intakes, maybe it’s more a developmental test bed for the engine and all those aerodynamicists are busy on a MK.II version for when the engine is a Mercedes beater.

  14. At first glance this looks more like a car attached to a large front wing than the other way around. Might partly be due to the angle and perspective of the photo. All in all, it looks more utilitarian than flowing form, but my only hope is that it is fast.

  15. This and the Renault will be indistinguishable from a distance.

    1. Renault’s livery might change for Melbourne mind.

      1. @deej92 not just might. They said it’ll change

    2. @mantresx the Renault has bits of yellow, this one bits of red and the huge numbers in the front will most likely allow for easy spotting. But that’S in testing of course as Renault’s livery will be different (hopefully with more yellow than current one)

  16. Wouldn’t be surprised if this is a testing livery.

    If it isn’t, it’s certainly better than the chrome but is definitely a no thrills livery.

    That back end is super tight. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s testing

    1. I think this will be their permanent livery.

      The McLarens will be ‘graphite’ grey for a few years now after switching from chrome since Spain last year. I think it’s a more suitable colour scheme because I always found chrome was associated with Mercedes (even though it wasn’t).

      1. I wish they’d go back to their heritage orange

  17. Mega rake, mega slim, mega ugly too. McLaren used to make much nicer looking cars (I refer to design and livery, both of which look rubbish to me)

  18. Not exactly a looker in my opinion and they were clearly confident with last years aero package since this looks like an evolution rather than anything drastic.
    Just as a side, it always baffles me why Mclaren persist with the helicopter angle but at a slight angle so as to make the front of the car look considerably wider than the rear. Only serves to make the whole car look really really silly.

  19. I think I like the livery, but the angle on the nose ruins the look of the car.

  20. Looks less ‘clumsy’ than last years car if that makes sense.. Just got that bit more aggression about it. Just hope the engine doesn’t let it down again :/

    1. Was kind of hoping for some white in there also. Got a feeling the haas car is going to be black too judging by the team trucks etc..

  21. Side pods are still empty…

  22. I’m failing to see any differences with the car they drove the last few Grand Prix’s. All that black makes it hard to see ofcourse, but I expected more from McLaren after their disastrous 2015 season. Hope it has changed a lot under the hood.

  23. They’ve managed to keep a hold of their Johnnie Walker sponsorship as well I see, so two alcohol sponsors for now!

    More importantly though I’m really hoping this car and engine is the breakthrough for McLaren-Honda. F1 will be better for having Alonso and Button towards the front of the grid.

  24. I really dislike the colour, I am a big fan of black cars and Renault’s yellow and black livery was beautiful. But plain black with a bit or red is just not my cup of tea.

    Can’t the designers use different shades of dark grey to make it look better? I mean where are all the good designers gone? not in F1 that’s for sure.

  25. Apex Assassin
    21st February 2016, 0:52

    Def in the running for ugliest car on the grid.

  26. Kieth, how did you get to release these images so early? I thought the official release was still a ways away.

  27. I don’t think the livery is bad but it’s uninspiring. also I will struggle to distinguish it from Renault.

  28. Oh, wel. At least it’s not as ugly as their T-shirts.

  29. This shouldn’t have been published yet. Bad move by F1fanatic.

    1. This shouldn’t have been published yet. Bad move by F1fanatic.

      They were freely available online.

  30. I wonder where these pictures have come from !

    I see none of these on, mclaren’s twitter handle, sky f1 or

    I think they look very authentic, but does this mean that these could have been leaked ahead of the actual launch ?

    1. There is someone at Woking right now who would be in a heap of trouble on the career front. It would have to be a leak from somewhere.

  31. People say this livery is good but RBR livery is bad?

    you guys need your eyes fixed.

  32. this is not the livery of mclaren this year believe me guys…

  33. Somebody at McLaren may lose her/his job…

  34. Wow, First F1 site that I can see off, that has released images of mclarens 2016 challenger. Is this an exclusive? That’s respect. (Tips hat)..

  35. It’s ok I guess. Being McLaren I suppose it was always going to be boring. Certainly highlights just how unsightly the front wing is on these cars, something the 2017 regulations seem to so nothing about.

  36. Where is the double exhaust pipe, I can not see it?

  37. The rear may not look super tight from overhead but aren’t the sidepods very shallow there? It could be okay I think.

  38. I have certainly seen worse looking cars, but it isnt a stunner…….

    The black isnt flattering, but it is significantly lighter than white or chrome (the next time you are in the DIY shop pick up a tin of black gloss and a tin of white and feel the difference in weight). I am glad that the red band/stripe on the nose has gone that just emphasise the crooked nose last year.

    Some journalist said something along the lines off all fast cars a good looking cars, but what is it that makes them good looking? inherent design or knowing they are fast and thus pleasing? Personally i dont think the Ferrari’s of the 99-2005 era were good looking. But then I’m no Ferrari fan!

    To me the best looking car ever was the simple sleek 1988 McLaren, closely followed by some of the wonderfully aero complex 2007-2008 cars dripping with detail and bits.

  39. Horrible livery. In fact, Renault livery is way better. Those stretched on numbers on the bottom part… No comment.

  40. Doesn’t really matter what it looks like. It’s all dependent upon what’s in the back and whether or not Honda have been able to fix their issues and severe lack of power.

    Thankfully we only have a day to wait.

  41. I am sure the car will be great it’s what Mclaren does!
    However I think the engine will be dreadful I just don’t think Honda and innovation go together. I hope I am wrong for Jenson and Alonso the two best drivers in F1

    1. I am sure the car will be great it’s what Mclaren does!

      Yeah, look 2013 and 2014!

  42. Like the livery and the overall look of the car, apart from the front wing(not that I like any other contemporary F1 front wing looks anyway)

    For the sake of F1 I hope it’s much faster than last year’s car.

  43. You would have thought after the dreadful 2015 season they wouldnt have wanted the 2016 car to resemble the old one, but it still has that same terrible livery..I don’t expect it to be any strongest than last year

  44. “You can have any colour you want, as long as it’s black”. Was that Henry Ford or Bernie Ecclestone?

  45. At this point I don’t care how good or bad does it look, or which livery they’re using. I just hope it’s a fast car compared to the opposition.

  46. Quite a scoop for F1Fanatic, I’ve seen some displeased tweets about this, but more about the leak than F1F posting them. Kudos!

    I’m a big fan of black cars with red details, but this just doesn’t do it for me. Aerodynamically it looks to be an improvement as well as visually (car shape) but the livery is dull. The red on top of the engine cover looks like a remnant of the West McLaren Mercedes days, having it anywhere else or having some red details would make for a far more well put livery..

  47. Looks like an evolution of last years but there are definitely some similarities to the Ferrari, obviously the short nose version offers something extra compared to the longer one used at the start of last season, are there any direct comparisons between last seasons short nose and this one, last years looked squarer, boxy and less integrated

  48. Dull and ugly and boring. The Mercedes chassis and the Williams livery seem to be the only decent looking things about F1 cars in 2016.

  49. Car itself looks a bit dull but I won’t care too much if it’s successful. Also Alonso and Buttons helmet designs look absolutely class, lack of sponsorship stickers probably helps to be honest.

  50. I like the “colour” scheme..and I also like the uncluttered look. Almost every F1 site you can name has these pics as today was their official launch day anyway so I would guess these are official photographs.

    Here’s to 2016 for McLaren! Hoping for a great year’s racing. A caveat for all those waiting for tomorrow’s testing: They will not be going for quick times for a couple of days. It’s amazing how many F1 followers confuse testing with qualifying..If they haven’t popped a quick one in by the end of week 2, then you can be despondent…

  51. Going to be really easy to design the Lego version of it (o;

  52. It certainly is an extremely trim car.

  53. Wow that looks average! The angle of the nose just puts it off straight away! Im no engineer, so it probably will work fine

Comments are closed.