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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Images ?ι?® F1 Fanatic, www.mclaren.com

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392 comments on McLaren MP4-26 launch – first pictures

  1. dennis said on 4th February 2011, 22:25

    I bet the chrome wheels were Lewis’ idea.

  2. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 4th February 2011, 23:27

    The high nose could be compared with the Jordan of 2000. That car was competitive. But it’s probably a way to avoid a car could push another in the air, which happened a lot with low noses going under the tyres.

  3. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 5th February 2011, 1:59

    So most comments ever on an article Keith?

  4. malayguy said on 5th February 2011, 5:09

    Another 2011 car with rear pull rod suspension

  5. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 5th February 2011, 6:22

    Aright that rear wing has got me absolutely confuzzled. Its not 2010’s wing, but theres no mechanism to move it. Unless the two things on either sides are it, but I think those are just supports.
    Another thing, I think I may have found their FEE. Where the Sidepod cuts away on the bottom, there is a long strip of what looks to be fireproof material. And there seems to be a hole. The back might be so tight because they want to channel all the air to the diffuser by sucking it their using that super sharp angled back end. Still, it looks like they’re doing it wrong…

  6. SennaNmbr1 (@sennanmbr1) said on 5th February 2011, 7:44

    This car instantly makes everything look out-of-date. Like a, “how are you others going to be fast if it doesn’t look like this?” kinda feeling.

    If it blows everyone away, they’ll all look like this next year, of course.

    I’m hoping for Melbourne ’98 levels of domination.

    • My biggest fear is that this will be a total bust like the McLaren a few years back that they actually binned in season because it was such a dog. Can’t recall the year or car model,but it generated the same kind of initial excitement.

      With cutting edge changes you either soar to the top or plummet to the bottom.

  7. Alex Bkk said on 5th February 2011, 9:59

    This car instantly makes everything look out-of-date.

    Got to agree with ya on the way it looks. It’s stunning to look at. When I first saw the profile pictures and looked at the rear I instantly thought of Lemans Prototype influences.

    I’m curious to see how fast it will be right out of the box. Macca has already mentioned that the Pirellis aren’t good for more than ten laps (Lewis vs Button on tyre care) and we don’t yet know how well the Mercedes drive train and brakes will handle the extra stress from the KERS and movable rear wing.

    I’s gonna be great season!

  8. Shimks said on 5th February 2011, 10:08

    I’m going to double-post. Hopefully Keith doesn’t mind. I have an attention deficit disorder and, being a hermit, you guys are the only family I’ve got: :p

    The front of that car looks so looong!

    I think putting the car together in front of the public is an excellent idea. I hope they release a fast-motion video of it happening. That would be cool to watch. If anyone has already found a link to something like that, please post it.

    Anyway, as I posted in a previous article, If the Pirellis are degrading as badly as everyone says, surely Jenson’s already got the 2011 championship in the bag! His smooth driving skill is going to murder Hamilton this year, isn’t it? Especially if he’s bettered his qualifying performances, as he stated he must.

    Finally, I hope all of you who can afford it send off your Β£5 donation to F1Fanatic soon, if you haven’t done so already. This will help Keith cover his costs for covering the Valencia tests and eating all that paella. F1 Magazine is Β£65 a year and this site is miles better. So, come on!

    :)

    • Funny you should mention tyres. Look for Massa, Button, and in particular, Schumacher making better use of the Pirelli’s than they were able to do with Bridgestone’s overly conservative ‘hard-as-nails’ tyres, last season.

      Of course, it will all come down to how each car is better able to use the tyres, rather than anything the driver is able to do with them.

    • JustAnF1Fanatic (@justanf1fanatic) said on 5th February 2011, 15:19

      i think with the tyres being so quickly to wear out, that hamilton will be better off, because if they last for ten laps with him, jenson may be able to make them last 12 but thats going to save him a pit stop. Unless my logic that the shorter the tyre can go, the smaller the extra time jenson can get out of them? Correct me if im wrong.

      • Shimks said on 5th February 2011, 16:26

        No, I think it will go the other way. Button’s more conservative with tyres, so the quicker they degrade, the greater the advantage his smooth driving style will give him over Ham’s aggressive style. That’s my guess.

        Anyone else?

        • Paul F said on 5th February 2011, 17:25

          I don’t expect it to make that much of a difference – Jenson didn’t dominate Lewis with his more conservative style in 2010, so I don’t expect him to in 2011. Even if the tyres degrade more in 2011, everyone is in the same basket, so even if Jenson can make the new tyres last longer, you could argue that it will be by proportionally the same degree that he did last year, ie no change.

          • Paul F said on 5th February 2011, 17:28

            Two amendments:

            Firstly, what the hell was I on when I wrote “in the same basket”, as far as I’m aware that’s not an expression; I think I meant “in the same boat”.

            Secondly, I agree with VXR that it will be far more car dependent than driver dependent. I think this year could throw up more surprises than 2009 if some teams get it very right or very wrong with how the tyre reacts to the car and vice versa…

          • Yeah its more of a myth that Hamilton cant preserve his tires. Both drivers have said that their styles are not actually that different. Ok Button is notably better at making his last, but Hamilton has proved his ability on more than one occasion- doing nearly the whole race on one set of tires in Brazil 2009 to finish 3rd from 17th springs to mind. Hamilton is on a par with the world’s best drivers, i think he has the skill to adapt sufficiently.

  9. I dont know how, but it’s incredible the progress in the engine cooling sistem. With this “U” sidepods, how is the form of the radiator???

    Anyway, i thing the renault have the cleanest rear part to flow the air to the rear wing. We will see, but the ferrari seems to be conservative, but they have the advantage with the pirelli tires.

  10. Why does Ferrari have an advantage with Pirelli tyres?

  11. interesting design. i like the look of the rear, very sculptural. but an F1 is not supposed to be just good looking.
    about those side pods, i understand that the idea is to improve the clean air flow over them rather than around (like all the other teams). I am sure mclarens knows what they are doing, but for a non specialist like me, the solution seems quite unsure.

    I mean, the volume behind the driver head is pretty fat and wide, plus the extremity of the pods is quite high compare to competition, the air flow will have to go around them, with surely a bit of turbulence, then there is still the mirror in the way of the flow, and in top view, those pods are really long, much longer than last year.
    and the cooling might be less effective because the inlets are right behind the turbulent air the wheels,

    if you look at the ferrari or redbull configuration, in the end, the pods aren’t much higher. and they are much tighter leaving a clear view on the rear suspension from front 3/4.

    i think the idea is clever but it implies a lot of compromise (the radiators are more outboard, the wider body etc) and with this year new tyres and wings, it might be risky to add mo complication.

  12. Emilssi said on 5th February 2011, 15:52

    Someone on F1modeling forum just discovered where Mclaren took their inspiration from:)))
    Here is the link: http://www.f1m.com/main/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15035&p=143129#p143129 (the pictures are towards the bottom of page three of the thread).

    • LuvinF1 said on 5th February 2011, 17:16

      Sorry – I just don’t see the resemblance. The side pods on the F92A are very box-like with rectangular openings – which were similar to a lot of side pods in the early ’90’s.

  13. Limiton said on 5th February 2011, 15:53

    I so see it fail this season. It looks horrid.

    • mateuss said on 5th February 2011, 19:51

      Yes!
      I don’t see why people are making this comparison, because that Ferrari has I shaped openings rather then L shaped ones, not to mention that the Ferrari’s top of the sidepods are level and from front projection has one line, where as the McLaren ones have a step in them, a sort of lower inner channel, which is the whole point of this arrengment (as far as we know).

  14. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 10th February 2011, 1:00

    Still can’t stop looking at this page! Mmmmmmmmmm.

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