McLaren have released images online of their 2016 car, the MP4-31, with hopes that they can move up the grid this season.
Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso are at the helm once again this season, after a more than disappoint first year with the start of a new relationship with Honda. The 2015 engine was both slow and unreliable, tumbling the team down the championship order despite having two world champions in the car.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 21, 2016
After sponsors TAG Heuer (who has defected to Red Bull) and Diageo (who have an interest in Force India) have left, two new partnerships have been formed. Richard Mille, a watch manufacturer has joined from Lotus on a ten year deal, and Chandon.
The MP4-31 retains the revised colourscheme from the second half of the 2015 season, the charcoal grey with red strips, although slightly modified at the front of the car to include a larger driver number.
Alongside current drivers Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and test driver Stoffel Vandoorne, the team have also announced Nobuharu Matsushita as a test and development driver for 2016. He drove alongside Stoffel Vandoorne for ART in GP2 last season, finishing ninth in the championship.
Ron Dennis commented on the season ahead for the team in a statement this morning, “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.
“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.
“We remain resolute in our commitment to our goals, and we maintain an indefatigable commitment to the winning potential of a full works team. Believe me: the full works backing of a multinational automotive manufacturer is the only platform from which real success in modern Formula 1 can be achieved. 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.
“We have the best driver line-up in the sport. We have an engineering team that has been meticulously hand-picked, restructured, guided and inspired; the blend of technical skill-sets and attitudinal mind-sets we now possess are fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art. And, thanks to the relationships we’ve nurtured with a hugely impressive roster of loyal and powerful partners, our commercial position is equally robust.”