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

  1. When the side pods were off you could see the exhausts ended short. There appears to be no room for them to exit at the rear? I think there are some things missing from the car.

  2. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th February 2011, 12:21

    If F1 were a poker game: Redbull what is your bet? “High nose!” Ferrari? “We see your nose and raise it!” Mercedes? “We see their nose and raise it!” McLaren? “Ahahahaha, call ;)

    • Also the nose appears to have a ramp leading from the front wing. Either that or it is something else in the picture making it look like that.

      • yeah that tongue was something Williams brought in a few years back, from memory a few teams tried it, Not sure if Williams still use it but I’m pretty sure McLaren have had it for a while.

  3. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th February 2011, 12:22

    If F1 were a poker game: Redbull what is your bet? “High nose!” Ferrari? “We see your nose and raise it!” Mercedes? “We see their nose and raise it!” McLaren? “Ahahaha, call ;)”

    Have to love McLaren for being gutsy enough to go so against the grain!

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th February 2011, 12:25

      Ooops, sorry for the double post everybody!

      • the nose doesnt look any lower than last years car imo. by far the most radical looking car this season..

        lets hope the virgin and HRT dont overshadow ;)

        • The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 4th February 2011, 12:46

          The tip of the nose may not be lower, but the whole nose forward from the cockpit is straighter and slopes down lower at the front wheel than last year.

        • verstappen said on 4th February 2011, 12:53

          possibly HRT’s livery, but Virgin could be a different story.

          If you look at what Wirth accomplished in the Le Mans Series with his CFD approach, it is entirely possible that someday Virgin will be a racewinner.

          And maybe someday is near!

          • Oliver said on 4th February 2011, 16:54

            You can’t compare Le Mans and F1. It is much easier to reduce drag on cars with enclosed wheels than it is on open wheelers.
            Even without using a wind tunnel or CFD, any of the new teams can make progress this year by visually copying the design elements of last years successful cars.
            If CFD is going to save the world as he claims, then Virgin should be very fast this year and we can forgive any reliability issues or mis-calibrated fuel tanks.

            Wirth is someone who just enjoys his data and forgets the cause.

  4. Jon E said on 4th February 2011, 12:22

    Oops, there is a screw missing on the exhaust shot just below were the top suspension arm exits the gearbox casing.

  5. Are the exhaust pipes centralized in that airplane looking thing in the middle in the back, right before the moving back wing ?

  6. Out of interest why does a British team lauch their car in Berlin? Mercedes influence?

    • Richie said on 4th February 2011, 12:32

      It was a request by vodafone to have it launched there.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 12:36

        For those who watched the live feed, it was all to obvious this was a VF event. Lewis put the name in virtually every sentence and Kai Ebel (I think it was him doing the presenters job, correct me if I am wrong) used quite a bit of it as well.

        • No, Kai is the guy who always dresses funny ! :)

        • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 13:39

          @ BasCB

          You are completely presumptive to think that it was a vodafone event. And I am sure Lewis didn’t put in Vodafone’s name in every sentence he spoke. In fact He & Jenson were very happy to be at Berlin.

          • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 4th February 2011, 14:06

            Maybe you are slightly presumptive to know how Jenson and Lewis felt, considering you are not: a) Lewis or Jenson b) psychic

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 4th February 2011, 15:08

            This has to be humor, or by now it is really sad. You had too really stretch to find anything to complain and seem at least half factually wrong.

            The Vodafone guy said it himself! Button and Hamilton looked like they were determined to enjoy it, I can’t know how they actually felt.

          • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 5th February 2011, 12:13

            Actually it was, McLaren stated that it was a launch with their sponsor Vodafone and all the people taking in parts of the car were Vodafone competition winners and customers.

            On a side note, this is getting immensely tiring and ruining an otherwise great comments thread. Any chance of a ban for Unipartretarded?

        • Andy C said on 4th February 2011, 15:37


          Is Unipart your ex wife or something? Or a spurned girlfriend? :-)

          Or is it actually you, and you are winding us up? :-)

          I agree, it was definitely at VFs request.

          • alejandro said on 5th February 2011, 1:22

            i’m thinking Keith is in on this joke, otherwise he would’ve been banned by now… have to admit, i am no scouring the comments pages to find BasCB posts!

    • it was to coincide with a promo event vodafone are doing over in Germany

  7. That looks horrible

  8. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 4th February 2011, 12:31

    Wow, I haven’t really liked the look of Mclarens in recent years but this is sleek as hell. The sidepod shapes don’t look like they’re that way for no reason, put it that way.

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

      In fact I wonder if the recess in the shape of the sidepods allows air over the top of the sidepods and into the rear of the car.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 12:37

        I suppose that’s the intention of them, leaving the openings to scoop up the dirty air from the front wheels.

        • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 4th February 2011, 12:51

          That almost has to be it. I find it refreshing to see a car that has actual sidepods this year, other than SRT. Everyone else seems to be copying RedBull’s idea of packaging the rear end so tight that the sidepods almost disappear!

        • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 13:42

          @ BasCB

          Unless you have done Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations yourself, you can’t be so sure that the openings are to scoop up the dirty air from the front wheels.

          The study of airflow is a very abstract & complex field for you to be speculating.

          • David BR said on 4th February 2011, 14:30

            Wow, you really are obsessed with stalking the same poster.

          • Unipart- if you’re doing this for some private joke which i hope you are then fair enough its quite amusing. If you’re not then someone might suggest that you are a truly sad and probably very lonely individual. Im still deciding whether or not i like you…

          • dyslexicbunny said on 4th February 2011, 16:19

            He can suppose whatever the hell he wants. There’s a definition for suppose: “Assume that something is the case on the basis of evidence or probability but without proof or certain knowledge.” Fancy that.

            So unless you’ve got data to prove him wrong, you’d be better off keeping your mouth shut about idle speculation. This Bas stalking has gotten irritating. What, did Bas pee in your cornflakes for the past month?

          • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 4th February 2011, 17:55

            Well i’ll you what, have a go at me, not BasCB if you wanna go on about the openings. I raised the point in the first place, so if the point was wrong, correct me.

            Anyhow, I’m not sure what it is, but looking at the car something tells me they’ve nailed it. Somehow.

  9. wondered how long it was goin before someone couldn’t brought up the ‘british bias’ digs.

  10. im sure that car has something illegal that they will call clever design.

    • Why, what did they have that was illegal last year?

    • Bigbadderboom said on 4th February 2011, 12:43

      Sounds like a contradicting statement to me! How is it clever if it is illegal? You can push the boundaries of the regs by innovation, perhaps that’s what you poorly veiled, bias statement was meaning to say!!

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 4th February 2011, 14:10

      Well because trinacria, as an Italian, or at least someone who references Sicily in their name, knows that all non-Italian teams and drivers cheat, while Ferrari are The True Way.

      Remember Luca’s comments about how Brawn and Red Bull had previously ‘doped’ their titles by coming up with things Ferrari didn’t? Sorry, I mean coming up with ‘illegal’ things. *rolls eyes*

  11. Richard M said on 4th February 2011, 12:33

    I’m very suspicion of the whole launch concept and how they appeared with the skeleton of the car and build it. I think there is a whole lot more science going into this design. The concentric air box seems to channel air and direct it to the lower rear wing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this can do. As for the look of the car can we remind ourselves this is racing car designed for speed? not a road car designed for the looks.

  12. Jeremy said on 4th February 2011, 12:35

    If I interpret this close-up right it looks rather interesting. Is that the exhaust? Very unusual position if so. Would they be trying to use it to affect the airflow around the rear wing?

    • i dont think that is the exhaust exit. looks more to do with the split airbox to me..!?

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

        @nemo and leftie: thanks guys. Probably right.
        It had me me wondering whether it was in some way an attempt to use some internal mechanism (engine or something else) to direct airflow in an f-duct-ish way, but the location is all wrong. Undoubtedly it will have been scrupulously carefully placed for some other arcane reason. The whole rear looks very small and with the sidepods the way they are I imagine the air is going to flow round this area in a quite different way to other cars. Of course, I haven’t a clue what I’m on about, I just look forward to seeing it on the track!

    • Leftie (@leftie) said on 4th February 2011, 12:41

      I think its rather a cooling system outlet than the exhaust pipe.

  13. Leftie (@leftie) said on 4th February 2011, 12:37

    That looks different…not sure about beautiful, though. Some interesting solutions, for sure, but i’m sure presented car is far off its true from. We’ll have to wait till Barcelona\Bahrain test for that.

  14. verstappen said on 4th February 2011, 12:37

    Man, I love this sport!

    It’s so cool to watch these new cars and the different solutions chosen by the teams.

    Also, despite all the copying going on, you can still see the DNA of the different teams. I mean imagine this car in Ferrari livery and vice versa. Or add a Red Bull or Mercedes in the mix.

    I would’ve been surprised had McLaren built a clean, smooth car. You just know that they will live up to their name and bring some extra features, shapes or whatever. Now let’s hope it all works – for all the teams, so we can have another close season!

  15. if anyone has missed it
    here you go guys..

    last years lauch car compared to this years.
    tried to scale it as best i can. this years wheelbase looks slighty longer..?

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