McLaren unveiled their 2021 car and lineup, with the livery a near carbon-copy of last year’s design.
The launch event was livestreamed from the McLaren Technology Centre, and was generally well-received despite a musical feature branded as “cringe” by fans.
Below the near-identical exterior there’s plenty of change though – James Key talked through some of the changes which include a tighter rear end due to the return to Mercedes’ power units.
Lando Norris said: “Every time I get into the car I feel like I’m growing in confidence and experience, which helps me build my performance year-on-year.
“I’ve been working hard personally throughout the off-season to be as sharp as I can when we get to pre-season testing, and I can’t wait to get back in the car soon.”
The team rekindled the historic papaya element to their livery in 2017 and it’s since become the centre of their identity – despite some fans hoping they’d return to the chrome look of the previous Mercedes era.
The #MCL35M from all angles. 🤩
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) February 15, 2021
After an offseason switch from midfield rivals Alpine (then Renault), Daniel Ricciardo said: “It’s great to have finally joined the team after what feels like an age since we confirmed it last May.
“I’m thrilled to be a McLaren driver and super-keen to get started. McLaren has been on an awesome journey over the last few years, and I’m looking forward to helping the team maintain this positive momentum.”
The Australian will make his McLaren debut in Bahrain in six weeks’ time, for his eleventh F1 season. After making his debut with HRT back in 2011, McLaren is his fifth landing spot on the grid, after he was first linked with a move there when he left Red Bull
Lando Norris indicated his role will be evolving for his third season at the Woking outfit, now the senior McLaren driver in terms of experience.
He said he’ll be looking to take more of a leadership role within the team – something he didn’t feel came naturally in his first two years in the sport.
He was beaten on points by Sainz – a relative veteran – in both years but with the Spaniard now off to Ferrari based off his strong performances in papaya the teammate battle resets.
But that belies an extremely strong debut two years, culminating in a first podium last season.
He also avoided shedding any light on the dynamic with his new teammate, something fans will have to wait lights out to see.