McLaren presents ‘innovative’ Honda-powered MP4-31 F1 car

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McLaren has revealed its new Honda-powered MP4-31 car for the 2016 Formula 1 season.

McLaren’s first season since reforging its partnership with Honda proved to be a difficult one as reliability issues with the power unit provided by the Japanese manufacturer limited the team to just 27 points across the course of 2015.

However, the team is now looking to bounce back with the sleek-looking MP4-31 that builds on many of the design concepts used on the 2015 car, such as the ‘size zero’ structure at the rear.

“The striking and innovative MP4-31 chassis integrates the new Honda RA616H power unit, developed exclusively for the team,” a statement from the team read.

“Although a high level of continuity in Formula 1’s technical regulations has enabled the team to strengthen and mature many of the design concepts developed on last year’s McLaren-Honda MP4-30, the new car also incorporates a significant number of all-new innovations.

“The result is a balance of remarkably elegant aerodynamic solutions with a highly space-efficient integration of Honda’s new-for-2016 power unit.”

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier heaped praise upon the crews working on the car at Woking and the engine at Honda’s facilities in Sakura and Milton Keynes for managing to stick to an aggressive build schedule for the new car.

“We must recognize the very hard work performed over the past few months by everyone in Woking, Sakura and Milton Keynes,” Boullier said.

“The guys have shown intense dedication throughout the winter period, and the result is that they’ve successfully kept our aggressive build and development programmes on schedule. As such, all our team members are a credit to McLaren-Honda, and consequently we’re incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the development of the MP4-31.

“But we’re never satisfied, which is why we’ve continued to strengthen our engineering team in recent weeks and months, and we’re confident that the changes we’ve made will improve and accelerate our car-development progress in the future.

“So the two Barcelona tests will merely herald the continuation of the huge collaborative task that all departments have been engaged in during the off-season.

“We’ll need to verify our work in the garage before we can expect any miracles on track – essentially, to ensure we walk before we can run. After all, testing is just that: testing.

“But be assured, we’re motivated and determined, and we’re pulling together.”

Drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button will race for the team once again in 2016, offering what McLaren CEO Ron Dennis believes to be the best line-up in F1.

“We have the best driver line-up in the sport,” Dennis said. “We have an engineering team that has been meticulously hand-picked, restructured, guided and inspired; the blend of technical skill-sets and attitudinal mind-sets we now possess are fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art.

“And, thanks to the relationships we’ve nurtured with a hugely impressive roster of loyal and powerful partners, our commercial position is equally robust.”

The McLaren MP4-31 will get its on-track debut on Monday at the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with Button enjoying the first run in the car.