The McLaren Mercedes team launched its new car for the 2010 season on Friday morning, with the target of clinching both titles after a mixed campaign in 2009. The Mercedes-powered MP4-25 was unveiled at Vodafone UK's headquarters in Newbury, UK.
McLaren's new car retains the silver color scheme of recent years, despite engine partner Mercedes-Benz's switch of focus to its own "Silver Arrows" outfit. The car features a high shark-fin engine cover running up to the rear wing, not used by the team in 2009.
The MP4-25 will be driven by Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button this year, the reigning World Champion having joined the British squad from Brawn GP, with which he won the title last year.
"It was Alexander Graham Bell who said preparation is key to success and we have prepared for this season more comprehensively than ever before," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh. "As team principal I am honored to represent this great team, but I am one small part of a group of dedicated and fantastic people.
"A great team and a competitive car can only succeed with the best drivers. Neither of our drivers need much of an introduction because between them they have won the past two World Championships. We are thrilled this year to have Lewis and Jenson represent the team on track. Both drivers are winners and they want to win this year.
"Every year of F1 racing throws up a unique set of regulation challenges, and 2010 is no exception. We have designed a car that exploits the double diffuser concept. We look forward to an exciting championship with many new and notable faces and at least one older one. We remain proud partners of Mercedes-Benz, but we must be at our best to beat the works team. Our goal is clear and we aim to win."
Engineering director Paddy Lowe added: "Firstly we as a technical team faced a great challenge when you have not one but two World Champions in the car. We felt some pressure to provide the right equipment to get the job done – we took that seriously. It is a very sophisticated car but very elegant. That comes from unprecedented collaboration between aero team and mechanical design team."
Hamilton says he is certain that this year's McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25 will be "completely different" than last season's difficult car.
McLaren began 2009 near the back of the pack, before a massive development program saw the team winning again by the summer, and eventually recovering to third in the Constructors' Championship. At the unveiling of the MP4-25 today, Hamilton said an incredible effort had gone into ensuring there was no repeat of last year's problems.
"The car looks so much different, completely different, and I feel so proud as I have had some input into it," he said. "I am sure it will handle completely differently than last year's car.
"We have been working on this car for quite some time now. The guys are working flat-out trying to build components, develop and improve the downforce and aero efficiency."
His new teammate Jenson Button agreed that the indications were good for McLaren, although he added that its competitiveness would not be apparent until testing resumes next week.
"We've seen the numbers and everything is very positive, and driven the simulator, but the real work starts in a few days in Valencia," said Button.
Hamilton emphasized that the limited testing mileage available in February would be more vital than ever, with several key rule changes coming in for 2010 and McLaren determined not to start the year behind its rivals again.
"We don't have a lot of testing compared to normal, now we only have seven days each," said Hamilton. "We have a big heavy fuel tank, narrow tires – hopefully we can maximize each of those days to get as much running as possible and get to the first race in a great position."
Test driver Gary Paffett will be the man in charge of taking the new car for its first laps on Monday, when preseason testing kicks off at Valencia.
Full Q & A with Button and Hamilton