McLaren Honda have revealed a new livery for the MCL32 featuring the team’s heritage orange colour.
The MCL32 is the first McLaren Formula 1 race car since 1980 to not include the ‘MP4’ (Marlboro Project 4) prefix in its name.
McLaren is kicking off a new era after the departure of its long-time boss Ron Dennis, with executive director Zak Brown having taken over at the role.
After weeks of speculation, the much anticipated launch confirmed McLaren will run with an orange branding this season.
“It is awesome,” said Brown. “It is a special day for all of us, first time in a car launch. I think it is a beautiful piece of art and I cannot wait to see Fernando and Stoffel go around the track.
“It was a collective group – we went through a variety of designs and ultimately it was in response to the fans, we have had such outreach from fans ‘we want to have orange’.”
He added: “I am a McLaren fan – we are going to get there. This team is highly frustrated that we are not winning races.
“We have a new package – it takes a bit of time. 2015 was a very difficult year, 2016 wasn’t a great year by McLaren standards but it is forward progress – and that is what we want to see in 2017 – forward progress. ”
The Woking-based outfit had run an orange livery during pre-season testing in 1997, 1998 and 2006, although a full orange livery had only been raced in Formula 1 from 1968 to 1971.
McLaren enters the third season of its partnership with Honda, hoping to take a significant step forward after two disappointing years.
The team’s fortunes improved in 2016 compared to the previous year – when it scored just 27 points – but it was still unable to compete near the front and finished down in sixth place in the constructors’ championship.
Honda’s new engine will feature a revised architecture and a new layout for this year, the Japanese manufacturer moving away from the ‘size zero’ concept with which it returned to the sport in 2015.
The 2009 champion ended his Formula 1 career at the end of 2016 campaign, although he still has a contract with McLaren for next year.
Vandoorne, the 2015 GP2 champion, is already a point-scorer in Formula 1, having replaced Alonso in last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, following the Spaniard’s massive accident in the first race in Australia.
So the future is looking bright for McLaren. New driver line-up. New boss in charge. New chassis name. Plus a bold orange look. Can the team fight back to competitiveness? Only time will tell.