Friday, February 4, 2011


McLaren has unveiled its new MP4-26 car which it hopes will enable Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to challenge for the title in 2011. Although most teams ran their new machines in Valencia this week, the first of four test outings ahead of season opener in Bahrain, McLaren held back and rushed to Berlin overnight for the official launch. By waiting as late as possible, the team hopes it has given itself as much time as possible to be ready for the first race.

The new McLaren will run at the second pre-season test in Jerez next week. The MP4-26 features extensively sculpted sidepods and a novel engine-cover design featuring two air inlets.

It’s great to see how many fans braved the Berlin weather to come to today’s event. I hope it’s been an exciting day for everyone: I think people saw a unique way of revealing our 2010 car, something that’s never been done before. I hope the car proves just as innovative once we take to the track next week.
I head into 2011 in a relaxed but determined frame of mind. I’ve spared nothing during my winter fitness preparations and, in many ways, I feel as fit, focused and refreshed as I did ahead of my first season in Formula 1 in 2007.

It’s strange to think that this is only the start of my second season at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, because I’ve felt so comfortable since joining the team last January. Even so, I’d still consider 2010 something of a building year, albeit, with two victories, a pretty solid one! For the new season, I’ve not only got a year’s Vodafone McLaren Mercedes experience under my belt, but I’ve also been able to offer input into the design and development of the new car – something that I was naturally unable to do last year.

Now I really feel I know how Vodafone McLaren Mercedes goes racing, and I’ll be driving a car that’s been fully developed around Lewis and myself – that’s a very empowering feeling.
I’m really looking forward to getting to drive the new car for the first time. Our pre-season simulations suggests that the new Pirelli tyres should be well-suited to my particular driving style, so I’m hopeful of being able to derive a good advantage from the tyres during the races. Today really marks the beginning of our 2011 season after what seems a very long time away from the track. It’s been a really exciting event for all the fans who attended, and now I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of MP4-26 for the first time next week.