This will be the first time a McLaren F1 car has been powered by Mercedes since 2012.
Financially, 2020 was a difficult year for McLaren, but the automaker still had a lot to celebrate. The new McLaren 765LT, a more hardcore, track-focused version of the 720S, was one of the most exciting model launches of the year and the company's Formula One team finished third place in the World Constructors' Championship, beating Ferrari. This was the team's best result since 2012. Looking ahead, 2021 marks the start of a new era for the McLaren F1 team.
Renault's Daniel Riccardo will replace Carlos Sainz, who will join Ferrari. And while the team's 2020 MCL35 car will carry over to 2021 to cut costs and offset the financial setbacks caused by the pandemic, it will be the first McLaren F1 car to be powered by a Mercedes engine since the MP4-29 in 2012. Renault has supplied engines for McLaren since 2018.
As development of the MCL35M reaches a new milestone, McLaren has released a teaser video showing the car being fired up and roar into life for the first time ahead of the 2021 championship - and it sounds magnificent. You'll definitely want to turn your speakers up.
While F1 teams are only allowed ot make a limited number of changes to cars this year, McLaren's production director Piers Thynne said that switching to a Mercedes engine meant significant changes were required. "Whereas every other team will carry over most of its car from last year into this year, our switch to the Mercedes power unit means that's not the case for us," he said.
"It's driven a huge amount of change and, essentially, we've been building a new car. The number of new parts on the MCL35M is about the same as when we built the MCL35."
Among the changes include adapting the back of the chassis and gearbox bell housing around the engine for the new power unit as well as the cooling layout, pipework, electrical harnessing, and control boxes.
McLaren will present its new MCL35 F1 car on February 15 at the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, UK. We're looking forward to seeing McLaren battle for position against Aston Martin, which is returning to F1 for the first time in over 60 years.