McLaren-Honda – the name evokes stirring memories of the past; of Ayrton Senna battling Alain Prost for supremacy; of classic red and white machines dominating for season upon season; of an iconic team writing one of the defining chapters in the motor racing history books.
Reuniting such an illustrious partnership brings with it the heavy weight of expectation, but all at McLaren and Honda are working to write a fresh chapter in Formula 1, one that respectfully nods to the past, but boldly looks to the horizon.
Today’s reveal of the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 – McLaren’s first Honda-powered car for 23 years – speaks volumes about the progressive nature of both companies.
It is a thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren, it is the only chassis on the grid to be fitted with Honda’s RA615H Hybrid power unit, and it features an evolved colour scheme that firmly contextualises McLaren’s brand in the 21st century.
While speculation had suggested that McLaren might completely overhaul their silver livery for the start of their new era, the team have opted an evolutionary rather than revolutionary colour scheme with red streaks added either side of the nosecone and black to the bottom half of the chassis.
Indeed, as far as the MP4-30 design itself is concerned, McLaren have described the car as a “thoroughly refined evolution of last year’s McLaren” with slimmed rear-end packaging – particularly around the gearbox – and a more elegant nose to comply with the revised regulations for 2015.
McLaren, however, have made clear that they see the new car in its current guise as a “foundation” from which to build with it “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”. The highly-rated Peter Prodromou only arrived at Woking from rivals Red Bull last September, although his presence was already being felt with aerodynamic improvements in the closing weeks of last season.