The Woking based outfit unveiled its 2017 challenger the MCL 32 at their headquarters on February 24, 2017. Changing the name from the MP4 configuration to MCL which marks the new shakeup in the team structure, post Ron Dennis’ departure. Switching to orange livery this year, the new MCL32 is a sleek and aggressive looking beauty. Apart from the livery, and name change the team have also dropped the size zero chassis concept they had adopted in the previous years, and the car is designed on the new 2017 regulation format.
Entering the third season in collaboration with the japanese car maker , the MCL32 is powered with a brand new Honda RA617H engine. Following Renault, Mclaren becomes the second team on the grid to be powered by BP Castrol fuel.
In terms of livery, the car has strong overtones of dynamic orange going back to the team’s origin, from the front wing to rear with black undertones on the lower siders, skirt and floor. There are a lot of aero details from the front wing to the rest of the chassis, and the car looks a lot more meaner than its predecessors. Its front-wing is a multi-element device and has six slot gaps to allow seven elements. Compared to Ferrari and Mercedes, the side pods are bit narrow and they haven’t been developed completely, which will be ok on cooler tracks but in warmer tempratures, they will require a better cooling system to avoid overheating.
The team said the aerodynamic areas they lacked in last year have been addressed this year. Equipped with a push-rod suspension at the front and a pull-rod at the rear, there are no controversial ideas in this area. At the rear, the wing is the standard 2017 car wing seen so far on other cars, while the rear has a large diffuser. McLaren hasn’t given away too many details at the rear on their launch-spec car, it will all be unveiled in the span between the first test and the race in Melbourne. Overall one can say, it is a well-designed McLaren after a long time.
As far as sponsors on the livery, there aren’t any new ones but team CEO, Zak Brown insisted they are comfortable and have a big budget for this year. In terms of power, Honda has said their engine is as good as Mercedes’ 2016 one. However if Mercedes, have made a step forward, with the token system gone, McLaren can expect to develop the engine through the season to challenge the front. With their driver line-up comprising of Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jenson Button as reserve, one can expect a Fernando vs Lewis or a Stoffel vs Max clash in track action.
Here’s a gallery of the launch and studio pictures: