McLaren MP4-26 launch – first pictures

2011 F1 cars

McLaren MP4-26 launch, 2011

McLaren have launched their 2011 F1 car in Berlin. Here are the first pictures of the car.

McLaren staged an unusual launch in Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. Competition winners brought different pieces of the car and they were assembled together in front of the public and press.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “I think today’s innovative launch demonstrates the enthusiasm within Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to engage the general public; to show them that our sport is intense and exciting and that we’re very keen to showcase Formula 1 to the wider world.”

As well as featuring KERS and an adjustable rear wing, as permitted by the 2011 rules, the MP4-26 sports an unusual U-shaped sidepod arrangement. McLaren say the layout is to direct air to the rear of the car more efficiently.

McLaren will conduct a shakedown test with the car at the Idiada Proving Ground in Spain on Tuesday, before arriving at Jerez for the second F1 test two days later.

You can also view the McLaren MP4-26 in 3D on the team’s website.

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392 comments on McLaren MP4-26 launch – first pictures

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  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th February 2011, 11:20

    I’m not really sure what to think. It’s a very skinny-looking car, which makes the whole thing look longer. It’s also got a very industrial look compared to its predecessors. I was instantly reminded of the Tumbler in Batman Begins compared to the Batmobile in Batman & Robin.

    I loved the way they built the car in the middle of the square. I just wish they would have given us a heads-up as to what was happening – I thought it was an ad to begin with, and it took me a long time to work out what was actualy going on.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th February 2011, 11:26

      I don’t like the look of the nose being so much lower than the top of the front wheels. It almost looks Indy-Car esque. I am also disappointed with the fact they’ve not got the red stripe along the top of the engine cover. It looks too boring without it.

      But I am loving this no shark-fin-to-rear wing rule!

      • Damon (@damon) said on 4th February 2011, 12:36

        “I don’t like the look of the nose being so much lower than the top of the front wheels.”

        WHAT?!? The nose is still way too high. You like those ridiculously high noses??
        That’s the most surprising statement I’ve ever read. They are plain disgusting, come on!!!
        Mercedes nose = floods of vomit.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 4th February 2011, 12:56

          WHAT?!? The nose is still way too high. You like those ridiculously high noses??
          That’s the most surprising statement I’ve ever read. They are plain disgusting, come on!!!
          Mercedes nose = floods of vomit.

          I don’t mean the nosecone itself; I mean the part of the car level with the front wheels. It reminds me too much of an Indy-Car – and that is by no means a good thing.

          • Damon (@damon) said on 4th February 2011, 13:01

            Oh, so you mean the fact that it is flat on its length?
            I love it – it reminds my of the 90’s Benettons!

          • Martin said on 4th February 2011, 14:11

            I agree. That makes McLaren look really ugly.

          • High nose, narrow track and grooved, narrower tyres – THE WORST DESIGN CHANGES TO HAPPEN TO F1 CARS. Period.

            The grooved tyres are gone, but the other elements are still there along with other ugly bits like turning vanes and mini barge boards. When will these change? Can’t wait for 2013.

            Meanwhile, how about race pitstops by competition winners for McLaren? A sure recipe to lose the championship.:)

          • Joey-Poey said on 4th February 2011, 16:37

            Not a good thing for you, but some of us actually like Indy Cars :P

          • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 4th February 2011, 17:27

            Ditto Joey, love the side-on view

      • miguelF1O (@) said on 4th February 2011, 22:49

        you right, all team went for a higher nose this year cause of the front suspension and to feed the floor even better, it seem like mclaren forgot the suspension troubles they had

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 11:27

      I like that idea as well. Something new, I just hope the guys get in it in the end, do a few doughnuts on the logo, then pick up Withmarsh from somewhere and drive off to the second test :-D
      Now i have the live feed, that interview with Lewis is horrible, how many times does he want to mention the sponsor name?

      Did you get yourself a Button or Lewis signed cap as well Keith?

      • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 13:11

        @ BasCB

        I completely disagree with your thoughts. I think the launch, if you can call it one, was totally lifeless.

        And the interview by Lewis was the only good part about the whole thing.

        • Calum said on 4th February 2011, 13:38

          It was wierd, I put on the live feed just after 11 UK time, to see mechanics putting on wheels and a nosecone. :/ I thought it was a behind the scenes but it was good for the public to see rather than a dust sheet removal…

        • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 4th February 2011, 17:10

          LOL sorry to get involved, but do you EVER agree with anyone? It just seems that every single one of your posts (especially to BasCB) seem to start with “I completely disagree…”. As someone said earlier, it’s like a comedy double act… :)

    • darren said on 4th February 2011, 12:10

      your an idiot…it looks awesome and different to the others which is a good thing….and you thought it was an advert ha….your opinion is crap, it doesn’t look industrial at all

    • xanathos (@xanathos) said on 4th February 2011, 13:44

      I thought it was an ad to begin with

      You thought? You were propably not the only one. it was basically a thirty minute vodafone ad

    • miguelF1O (@) said on 4th February 2011, 22:46

      admit it this is even uglyier thatn the last one i love the concept on the radiators it reminds me of the f10 and the 09 bmw but much more aggressive

  2. Aris (@aris) said on 4th February 2011, 11:20

    A longer nose. I like it.

  3. explosiveface (@explosiveface) said on 4th February 2011, 11:21

    Pretty strange reveal. :p

    Car looks great, but I will miss the shark fin on the McLaren, I’ve always hated the all-chrome top.

  4. Very interesting side pods! car looks amazing got to be the most pretty car!

  5. Bertie said on 4th February 2011, 11:23

    Have you seen the side pods yet… They look mad.

    • martin bell said on 4th February 2011, 11:25

      Not as mad as the airbox!!!

      • KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 4th February 2011, 11:28

        It doesn’t have the mandatory camera yet, so it probably looks weirder than it actually is.

        But interesting launch certainly.

    • Henry said on 4th February 2011, 12:59

      Sidepods are crazy. They are so high, really give the area around the floor and underneath them a huge amount of space. Look too high, but they are slo very narrow. And the area around the diffuser is so neat, so empty, so clean and clear. Its also pretty interesting to see they dont have a central beam to activate the adjustable rear wing. Exhausts look pretty interesting also…

      Look forward to it going around the track; aside from Renault’s (and Red Bull’s) exhausts, this is definitely the most radical design. Wonder if it makes it faster or slower!

      • zecks said on 4th February 2011, 13:05

        a few of the teams seem to have a wing without a central activator williams/ mercedes. for the life of me i can’t understand out how they it works!

    • Hairpin (@hairpin) said on 4th February 2011, 13:58

      I don’t think the side pods are that special, it looks like a solution that is being used on LMP1 cars and has been for some time now.

  6. Dougy_D (@dougy_d) said on 4th February 2011, 11:24

    No more F-Duct :*(

  7. woah keith i hope you’re not as fast as this in the bedroom ;)

    love love love this car already. the sidepods are crazy..!!

  8. Neil Davies (@neil-davies) said on 4th February 2011, 11:24

    Love it – sidepods are wild, clever shaping. Wonder what the large extra top intake behind the engine intake is for?

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 4th February 2011, 11:40

      Probably either for the oil radiator or to cool KERS…

      • Nick F said on 4th February 2011, 12:12

        I just looked at some pics of them putting the thing together. It’s amazing that they did that. I’m sure the rival teams must have liked seeing all the internals.

        In the pics i saw a little radiator quite close to that extra engine intake hole thingy. so probably is for cooling something as you mention.

        • Sherman Tank said on 4th February 2011, 13:16

          I bet there were a few internals that were placed as a red herring to confuse and send there rivals on wild goose chases. I find it hard to believe that mcClaren would be so transparent.

          Awesome car, roll on next week, lets see it on the move

    • McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 4th February 2011, 13:57

      The second air intake is to cool the oil and hydraulics systems

  9. Deurmat said on 4th February 2011, 11:26

    The sidepods look awesome lol!

  10. Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 4th February 2011, 11:27

    Front wing diffuser as well, I like the look of the sidepods very unique.

  11. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 4th February 2011, 11:27

    I wonder how well the view to the sides is, sitting in the cockpit trying to see if Vettel is trying to run into your sidepod ….

    • martin bell said on 4th February 2011, 11:29

      Maybe the shape gives more bounce to deflect flying Vettels?

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 11:31

      The high sides will probably be reinforced just for the opportunity to bash him off.

      I was looking at the live feed from Berlin just now. Button had a nice answer to questions about the buttons in the car making it complicated. He said, there is a lot of Buttons in the car, even more in his one!

  12. Very tight rear of the car slight curvature on the back wing beveled edge havent seen that before on a car this year, has the same ridge on the engine plate as the ferrari.

  13. Silverkeg (@silverkeg) said on 4th February 2011, 11:27

    Those sidepods are really irritating me, they dont look nice to my eyes. same with the airbox. But it does look fast and most importantly, different.

    the board behind the front wing is interesting as is the sidepods HEAVY undercut and floating look.

    I am a bit tired of the livery. Not a very attractive car but it does look fast.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th February 2011, 11:37

      Its seems like a make or break design. They definitely have come up with the most innovative and intricate chassis design. The airbox, sidepods and front wing look seriously radical. I have a gut feeling that this car is going to be really quick.

      • bananarama said on 4th February 2011, 12:37

        Looks very radical indeed. Don’t really like the looks of it, but well, if its fast its good for them.

      • David BR said on 4th February 2011, 13:54

        The sweeping body work between the pods and main chassis looks like it’ll improve their rear downforce a lot, something Lewis has complained about for years now. I kind of suspect the car has some clever (sneaky) hidden stuff too. But the main thing is it looks adaptable over the season, which was their sticking point last year. If you’ve got McLaren’s resources, you’ve got to be able to adapt.

  14. S.J.M said on 4th February 2011, 11:28

    Some big gap between the sidepods to the flooring…

    • spawinte said on 4th February 2011, 11:34

      And the overhang runs all the way to the back. What you want to bet they have the exhausts set up to flow into that channel.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th February 2011, 12:40

        Yes and if you look, there is a line where the floor and sidepods seem joined together, you can also see a spot that is likely where a front exhaust would be. I’m willing to bet that is a dummy panel and when removed there will be a deeply undercut channel to funnel the air from the front exhausts. I hope it is so because it would be genius, I’ve got a strong feeling McLaren is going to cause the other big teams some real pain this year.

  15. Apeman said on 4th February 2011, 11:30

    Cheers Keith! Any signs of a blown diffuser arrangement?

    • Silverkeg (@silverkeg) said on 4th February 2011, 11:32

      When they were building the car it appeared to have regular exhaust exits, but i have no doubt they have the renault exhausts in development

      • anTONIo said on 4th February 2011, 13:08

        ‘Hope they’ll understand it ;-)

      • McG (@mcg) said on 4th February 2011, 13:37

        I agree Silverkeg. The exhausts looked fake. They are too far away from the diffuser and they were a strange matt grey colour.

        McLaren had me woried for a moment that they may have went conservative with their blown diffuser. Although how much time is there in the BD’s now that it’s single?

        • schooner said on 4th February 2011, 22:02

          I’ve just read that the engine and exhaust headers shown here are, in fact, plastic. Amazing, really. Think of all the time and money that had to go into the manufacturing of these stage props.

          • Thats how they prototype anyway. I think James Allen had an article on his blog where his visited the Team Lotus (Lotus Racing at the time) new garage and they had all the components mocked up in plastic, engine and all! Really interesting read.

  16. barkun (@barkun) said on 4th February 2011, 11:33

    waiting to see more pics.. looks like a beauty so far !!!

  17. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 4th February 2011, 11:33

    Is it just me, or does this car seem totally disproportionate? It’s very skinny and very long. The sidepods are very high, and the airbox very low. Everything about the car seems to contradict everything else ever-so-slightly. It’s like one of those cheap 3D-puzzles you find in a two-dollar shop. There’s so much going on that you don’t really know where to look first; everything keeps drawing your eye all at once. I really don’t know where to begin with it. It looks industrial, it looks aggressive, and it looks a little unfinished.

    Still, I like it.

    • John H said on 4th February 2011, 12:22

      Looks pretty proportionate & finished in my subjective opinion PM.

    • Maciek said on 4th February 2011, 12:23

      I’m not sure what you mean by unfinished… ? I think it mostly looks deceptively simple. By far the cleanest lines of the cars we’ve seen. We’ll see if it’s quick, but it’s my favourite 2011 car – by far.

    • It’s certainly a fun car huh, not sure if I’m convinced but you never know with radical till it starts going fast.

      The one thing thats worrying me is, where are the exhausts? Let them have figured out how to feed the diffuser properly this time, just… please.

    • Don Mateo said on 4th February 2011, 12:49

      Unfinished? With the amount of in-season development that goes on, are F1 ever really “finished”? Anyway, those sidepods are certainly one of the most distinctive features of any of this year’s cars. I’m also pleased that the shark fin has gone.

    • David BR said on 4th February 2011, 14:01

      Not so much unfinished as ready to be finished. Looks like they’ve got some good design concepts to work from in testing and over the season. The crucial factor I think is KERS. McLaren know they’re way ahead in developing the system for F1 and have probably moved on a ‘generation’ in their own development. If so it will be very difficult for other teams to catch up.

    • Salty said on 4th February 2011, 22:06

      I rather think it’s a bit of a stunner. Love the the low-rise pods, hope it pans out for them. Love em or hate em McLaren seem push the envelope a lot harder than most and THAT is was F1 has always been about for me.

      Oh and much kudos to Martin Whitmarsh and the team for the fun launch as well, we might all be living in testing times (pun intended), but a little theatre in the most theatrical of sports is very welcome in my book.

  18. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 11:33

    Looks like the complete lower rear wing is missing. Probalby will be connected to a much more complicated diffusor than the simple tray shown in the presentation today.

    • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 13:20

      @ BasCB

      The complete lower rear wing is not missing. It is clearly visible in this photograph

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/mcl26_2.jpg

      And might i remind you that double decker diffusers are banned this year. So your idea of a complicated diffusor doesn’t arise at all. None whatsoever.

      • MagillaGorilla said on 5th February 2011, 2:10

        You’re wrong the lower part of the wing is missing, and also you’re wrong again because it is exhaust blown diffusers that are banned this year it was last year that the double decker diffuser first implimented by Brawn was ban.

    • I think it looks like the lower element of the rear wing is missing because the adjustable top plane is angled downwards so it practically meets the one underneath.

    • Very likley Bas, although, the rear crash structure seems more aerodynamically shaped than I’ve seen others. Quite likley the diffuser will see further development as well.

      Seems the teams have all decided that the diffuser must be fed above and below. Some are using the starter whole, as Ferrari’s fire showed. Redbull has found a loop whole, an Renaults gone all radical.

      But it does seem like people have revealed their hands quite early, so it’ll be interesting to see whats changed by Barcelona, an indeed by Bahrain.

  19. Cyclops_PL (@cyclops_pl) said on 4th February 2011, 11:34

    The strangest launch I’ve ever seen. It makes me wonder how much of the real MP4-26 we have seen.

  20. Neil Davies (@neil-davies) said on 4th February 2011, 11:34

    3D model is up at http://mclaren.com/2011revealed/

    Looks awesome.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 11:49

      Looks like McLaren liked the limo-look from last year and went for a high, long stretched back of the airbox again.

      that 3D model is pretty good, shame you can’t pause it. And they must be hiding something for the diffusor, why else not show it at all.

      • you can drive it about too which is fun :)

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 4th February 2011, 12:31

        You can choose manual orbit to pause it.

      • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 13:24

        @ BasCB

        You are wrong to think that McLaren like the limo-look. Its because of the aerodynamic philosophy that the have adopted that the car looks a tad lengthier, not because they wanted it that way.

        You are again wrong to think that they are hiding something about the diffuser. may I remind you that the double decker diffusers are banned this year.

        • Can you give it a rest with constantly responding to BasCB’s posts with overly aggressive and/or patronising comments?

          Nobody is impressed with your obvious ‘expert’ knowledge, refusal to think before you flame someone (you honestly didn’t get the reference to the ‘Buttons’ joke someone mentioned?), and inability to produce a reasonable argument when you disagree with someone.

          Wait, are you Luca DiM in disguise?! Keith, I claim your ‘Troll of the Day’ prize.

        • Dear god mate whats your problem? Attacking everything he says. I suppose you work for McLaren your Lordship, you seem to be well in there! Just because people say things that are a bit ill-judged doesn’t mean you need to go biting their heads off and playing mr smart ar*e about it- dont take yourself so seriously. And how can you shoot his idea of a more complex rear diffuser down with such conviction? McLaren could quite easily have exploited yet another loophole that allows them to be bit more creative- we see stuff like this happening every year

        • Hare (@hare) said on 4th February 2011, 18:16

          Unipart sounds like my ex girlfriend…. Nag nag nag..

        • Hamish said on 4th February 2011, 22:15

          Unipart I think you’ll find that BasCB’s contributions are always welcomed and respected as the man does have a certain degree of knowledge.

          You on the other hand – you appear to always have something to say, very little to contribute however.

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