2014 is hoping to be a new dawn for McLaren as the team attempts to bounce back from its first winless season since 2006 and its first season without a podium since 1980. The newly released McLaren MP4-29 will be driven by former world champion Jenson Button now in his fifth season with McLaren and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.
With a series of significant new regulations coming into effect for 2014 the McLaren is quite different from previous seasons. The MP4-29 now features a 1.6 liter turbocharged V6 engine matted to an eight speed gearbox. The KERS system has been given a boost in power, it is now up to 160 hp over the 80 hp in 2013. Changes to the cars fuel flow have also meant the engineers have been busy in the off season.
When asked if it was difficult to get to grips with so many changes all at once Jenson said, “It’s part of the job of a Formula 1 driver. I’ve spent my whole career jumping from different specification cars – I’ve driven V10s, V8s, I’ve raced on grooved tyres, on slicks, with KERS, with DRS, with traction control, without it, with refueling, without it. I’m still here!”.
“We’ve never had such significant new regulations before; reacting to them, and managing those changes, while still pushing the performance limits, has been an extremely tough job,” said Jonathan Neale, McLaren’s managing director. The drivers are aware of the effect the changes will have, as well.
2014 will also see its 20th year partnering with Mercedes-Benz who will leave the team at the end of the season. Mercedes-Benz will be replaced by Honda at the end of the season who are making a return to Formula One in 2015.