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McLaren manage expectations at launch of Honda-powered MP4-30

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McLaren manage expectations at launch of Honda-powered MP4-30
Jan 29, 2015, 4:20 PM

With team boss Ron Dennis branding McLaren’s new MP4-30 “the start of a lengthy journey”, Fernando Alonso insisting that the team is ready fo...

With team boss Ron Dennis branding McLaren’s new MP4-30 “the start of a lengthy journey”, Fernando Alonso insisting that the team is ready for a “steep learning curve” and Jenson Button “under no illusion that it will be easy”, the launch of the team’s new era of Honda power got off to a carefully managed start today.

After the unveiling of the new challenger, which carried a silver, black and red livery, Alonso said that while he has “never felt more ready for a new season” he knows there is a long road ahead.

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“I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda,” he said in a team statement. “I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.

“Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership.”

Dennis, meanwhile, said that “there’s a lot of work to do before we can expect to repeat the level of success we enjoyed together 25-or-so years ago.”

“Although our renewed alliance began again many months ago, the launch of the McLaren-Honda MP4-30 marks the start of a lengthy journey,” he said. “We’ve come a long way already and, although there’s a lot of work to do before we can expect to repeat the level of success we enjoyed together 25-or-so years ago, it’s already clear that there’s enormous synergy and potential in our partnership, and I’m positive that, together, we’ll get to where we want to be: winning grands prix and eventually World Championships as McLaren-Honda.”

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The most upbeat notes were sounded by Honda itself with the manufacturer’s F1 boss Yasuhisa Arai saying that the company is confident the “technology is there” in its new Honda RA615H power unit.

“As you can see with the new MP4-30, we’ve dedicated ourselves as one team with McLaren to creating a new car that compromises on nothing – either power or aerodynamics,” said Arai. “Yet, in the midst of the excitement, both myself and our engineers are 100 per cent focused in both Sakura and Milton Keynes to prepare for Jerez and beyond. We’re confident that the technology is there, and I’m looking forward to see how it will perform.

“We’re about to commence a long season, with numerous challenges, but Honda is determined to face them head-on. After all, we’re here to drive Formula One’s technology forward and give our fans a thrilling ride.”

The team’s first test with the Honda power unit, at the Yas Marina circuit following the final race of last season, was a troubled affair, with numerous technical glitches restricting running.

The debut was, however, little different to that of other teams introducing their power units nine months earlier prior to the start of the 2014 campaign and Alonso today was keen to stress McLaren’s ability to develop across the season.

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“Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible,” he added. “That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development. Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package.”

The team statement accompanying the launch also placed heavy emphasis on development, saying that the McLaren’s relationship with Honda is a “work in progress” and that the MP4-30 is “a foundation – offering up a number of new exploratory development paths for our engineers, aerodynamicists and drivers to pursue during the season, and on into next year.”

McLaren’s 2015 season will, of course, be defined not just by its reunion with Honda. There is also the small matter of its other reunion – with Fernando Alonso. How that will play out, and how he and Button compete as team-mates will be one of the most fascinating stories of the season.

Today Button said he is looking forward to the challenge adding that both he and Alonso favour a similarly type of car.

"I'm looking forward to the partnership - hopefully it will be a good one,” he said. "From the data I've seen from the simulator and the feedback I get from Fernando, I think we like a similar car, which is very important in terms of shaping and moulding the car in a certain direction.”

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Series Formula 1
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