McLaren MP4-26 lannched at Valencia

Valencia, 7th February 2001: The West McLaren Mercedes Formula One team revealed their 2001 Formula One World Championship challenger, the MP4-16, this morning at the Valencia circuit in Spain. The unveiling took place in front of more than 500 ...

Valencia, 7th February 2001: The West McLaren Mercedes Formula One team revealed their 2001 Formula One World Championship challenger, the MP4-16, this morning at the Valencia circuit in Spain. The unveiling took place in front of more than 500 media, team Partners and VIP guests prior to the car's first run of the day with David Coulthard at the wheel.

The MP4-16, which appeared in its traditional livery has required a "clean sheet of paper" approach in many areas as a result of the revised 2001 FIA Formula One technical regulations. At first glance the changes are small, but they are significant and consequently the MP4-16 is not an evolution of last year's car, but a new car for new rules.

Development began in May 2000, with work focused on the aerodynamics and wind tunnel model, together with the transmission, rear suspension and hydraulics systems. In September, when the aerodynamic shape requirements were fixed, the monocoque design began.

The main visible difference is the change to the front wing regulations, which has had a knock-on effect on the configuration of the remainder of the car. A key target of the new FIA rules is the reduction of downforce of the new cars brought about by a smaller rear wing and changes to limit the depth and the number of elements, to a total of three on the upper wing and one on the lower wing.

Also new to 2001 are various primary safety structure changes, including higher roll-hoop loads and new side penetration tests. The MP4-16 has to accommodate a new side-impact test, which must be carried out further forward along the cockpit and has prompted longer side-pods relative to the driver's position behind the wheel.

The Mercedes-Benz engine, the FO 110 K V1O. is a completely new design. The engine first ran on the dyno on 14th November 2000 and has run on the dyno For more than 23.000 kms since then. The new engine was tested for the first time in the back of the interim West McLaren Mercedes car - the MP4-15K - at Jerez on 4th December and to date about 8.000 test kms have been completed by Mika Hakkinen. David Coulthard and Alexander Wurz.

The start of the 2001 season in Melbourne, Australia will mark a special anniversary for the team as it will be the iO0th Grand Prix of the McLaren-Mercedes Partnership as well as for the Partners Mobil 1 and Loctite who also joined the team in 1995.

"The whole team has been working really hard over the winter to ensure we are in the best possible shape for the first race. We are all excited to see how the car performs and with the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the new chassis." said David Coulthard, who will drive the MP4-16 throughout today. Last year it was Mika Hakkinen who drove the new car at the launch. He will get the opportunity to test the MP4-16 tomorrow, Thursday, while Alexander Wurz will continue development work.

"I had my first test since the Malaysian Grand Prix in early January which I really enjoyed and I am looking forward to driving the new car tomorrow," explained Mika Hakkinen. "We have certainly a very competitive season ahead of us and my goal is to win the Drivers' World Championship and to help the team to secure the Constructors' title. I'm as determined as ever to go flat out and I believe we have the necessary equipment to do just that."

Third driver Alexander Wurz said: "I feel like an essential part of West McLaren Mercedes and will do everything I can to ensure that we do well this year. I have been impressed by the determination and sheer effort shown by everyone and the immense will to win."

Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the TAG McLaren Group said: "We are looking forward to the challenges of the new season. There is an atmosphere of excitement today as we all want to see how the new car behaves and illustrate that our efforts over these past months have paid off."

"We are combining our launch with the running of the car to maximise the opportunity of having the car on the track and progressing at all times. We have made a lot of changes not only to the car but also internally within the team. I believe we are as strong as ever engineering wise and we are going to give everything we have to reclaim the Championship."

"Everyone in the team has been working hard since the end of last season to get a good basis for the 2001 World Championship," stated Norbert Haug, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. "I am sure that we will be in a strong position and certainly the goal of each and every team member is to fight for both Championships and to win them both."

-McLaren

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Alexander Wurz
Teams Mercedes , McLaren