Compare the new 2017 McLaren with last year’s model

2017 F1 cars

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Ring the changes between McLaren’s latest Honda-powered car and last year’s model using these interactive images of their 2017 and 2016 designs.

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Use the slider below to transition between images of McLaren’s new 2017 MCL32 and last year’s MP4-31. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

Top view

There’s no missing the dramatic new colour scheme on the 2017 McLaren. But there’s much more going on than just a new splash of colour.

In common with the rest of the field the new McLaren isn’t just wider, it’s also longer. That extra length makes life a bit easier as far as passing the front nose crash tests goes, though for now McLaren this is one area in which McLaren’s 2017 car is similar to the old one – for now.

Unsurprisingly the bright orange livery does not extend to the most aerodynamically sensitive areas of the car which have recently been freed up by the regulations. Like all the other teams which have launched so far, McLaren is keeping these parts dark which makes them harder for rivals to inspect and copy. This particularly goes for the intricate bargeboards which are attached to pod wings.

There is very little detail on the floor in its launch specification, indicating this is a likely area for change once testing begins.

Side view

The differing angles in the side view make the overall increase in length harder to appreciate. McLaren is another team which has opted for a shark fin.

Even at this early stage a lot of work has gone into the new rear wing endplates, which feature an array of slots plus additional vertical bodywork alongside the more familiar twisted struts.

Three-quarter view

McLaren-Honda MP4-31, 2016
McLaren-Honda MP4-31, 2016
McLaren MCL32, 2017
McLaren MCL32, 2017

View more pictures of the McLaren MCL32

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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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  • 28 comments on “Compare the new 2017 McLaren with last year’s model”

    1. This shark has gills! Great looking car, livery may change to a bit more orange for the season opener perhaps?

    2. Wow, that’s awesome Keith. It’s freaking massive.

      1. exactly my thoughts. that is one BIG car. just shows the size difference.

    3. Why isn’t the slider comparison a thing for the merc car and force india?

      1. Not enough suitable images of those yet.

    4. “Use the slider below to transition between images of Sauber’s new 2017 C36 and last year’s C35”

      Little copy pasterino error there Keith.

    5. So, I guess what these show is that it’s quite likely the Orange car is either weirdly underdeveloped or they’re going to be turning up in Barcelona with a different floor, front wing and set of turning vanes cause the older car looks more developed then the newer one and they are both launch spec.

      This is weird.

      1. All the teams will be turning up at Barcelona with cars different to the ones they show to the press, and those will be different to the ones that turn up at melborne, and different again through the season … if you have a magic bullet, don’t show it to the press, McLaren didn’t show the f-duct until the season began, hid it all through testing

    6. Probably the most spectacular looking car in F1 history. The livery design is stunning, I literally can’t get enough of it.

      1. I’m starting to think YOU were the one who designed this livery.

      2. It’s awful, there is no other word for it – it’s not a livery you expect to see from a team with the history of Mclaren, Ferrari are Red and always will be, Mercedes are Silver and always will be, Renault have always been about the Yelllow etc but Mclaren has no identity anymore.

        They change every few years and they’ve gone for a Livery that has no real significance to their racing heritage and not only did they do that they didn’t even go for something that is striking and makes people think ” Wow, This is a new era of Mclaren” it makes people think “Is that a Spyker mixed with a virgin and a manor?”

        Looks like a Gp2 livery, let’s hope it’s not a car with GP2 performance.

        1. You do realize Matthew that orange is McLaren’s traditional colour, don’t you?

          “Renault have always been about the Yelllow”
          Most of Renault’s last 15 years where cars in a different colour just smeared here and there with yellow.

        2. My first sentiment was… “what was that back-marker team from a few years back?” – Spyker! Thanks for answering. I totally agree – looks like a car well suited to the back of the pack. Let’s hope it’s not the case.

    7. I have to post my thoughts on this livery here as well :-)

      The design is awesome because it uses very simple shapes – there are basically just 2 curves (!):
      – the first one integrates the shark fin, making it spikey and agressive
      – the other one goes along the entire body, emphasizing the curvature of the nose, also creating an illusion of more weight pushed to the front of the car as if the rear tyres worked as powerful legs pushing the car forward (compare it to a jumping car – e.g. Puma logo).

      The white stripe is placed in the concavity of the sidepods regulating its shape but also making them look stronger (because of using a lighter colour on a black background). Although you should perceive it a bit differently, because there’s white under the entire orange region as well, right? The white sidepod stripe, therefore, just adds to the white that’s hidden beneath the orange. You can almost see the sidepods in fact being white with the black melting onto the white.
      And it’s all basically made with just 4 swipes of the brush! BRILLIANT!

      1. Fascinating reaction.

        When I first saw the shark fin ‘integration’ thought: Finally…McLaren have a sponsor – a plumbing company – hence the side of a work van appearance. But sadly, it’s a shy plumbing company without a name.

        Integrated or not, shark fins were fugly in the naughties and they’re worse now, imo.

    8. How much longer can the McLaren team be without a major sponsor?

      The two launches today bring into stark reality the differences of sponsorship coverage between the Ferrari and McLaren cars.

      And when it’s put into simple terms, they are very similar businesses: road car manufacturers who primarily exist to race F1. How can one be plastered in logos, and the other be totally bereft of them?

    9. Nice to see that Manor/Marussia are still going to be on the grid this year.

      1. That’s what I thought……I always liked their liveries though :)
        The McLaren looks so different from last years car……you might even think it’s not a McLaren at all.
        Luckily it is and it’s a looker!

    10. The livery reminds me of the Orange Arrows from years ago. Not bad looking, but I’m guessing the Honda motor is still lacking vs the other guys. The colors are way better than the last few. Time will tell if it’s fast. At least MCHonda is not lacking driver talent. Hope we get to see more than just the Silver Arrows show this year.

    11. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      24th February 2017, 16:46

      Did anyone else in the their head hear the sound of Ron Dennis vomiting when seeing this? 😂

      1. Yes, a little.

        I do hope McHonda is more competitive this year because it will be difficult for Alonso to find deck chairs with hideous shark fins on it.

    12. Shoulda been all orange or nothing …

      Go full retro or stick with the future …

      Sometimes when a football team comes out with a kit and you just think; “Yep, they’re gonna get relegated playing in a kit like that …”

      That’s how I feel about McLaren-Honda this season.

      If they were a football team, they’d be Arsenal …

    13. @keithcollantine I’d love to see a comparison like this of all 10 2017 cars when they’ve been announced. Maybe a dropdown menu in which you can select 2 teams to compare? Seems very interesting to see their different approaches to barge boards, wings, etc.

    14. Definitely not a size zero anymore.

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        25th February 2017, 2:21

        My first thought too, enormous thing! Horrible livery.

    15. Looks like motorsports.com has stolen your idea Keith. Either that or you have it to them

    16. Can somebody explain the nose gills? Id have thought this would just create drag

    17. Charlotte Cook
      25th February 2017, 7:30

      Love the new car, can’t wait for the new season… Although my girlfriend and myself are fans of Lewis, We are both big fans of McLaren.. Best of Luck for the new season x

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