McLaren has emerged from a torturous 2018 campaign with a striking new car, the MCL34, an all-new driver line-up – its first for 12 years – and new team and technical bosses en route to further up its game.
And the energy at its launch event was palpable, the historic British team using the opportunity to recognise its long-suffering workforce…one that continues to dream of better days.
SOUNDBITE (English) ZAK BROWN,
CEO, McLAREN RACING:
“I think the atmosphere inside of McLaren, everyone’s really excited. All the men and women have been working so hard, day and night - as everyone at McLaren does to produce such a good looking race car. So, now we’re all very excited to see how fast our two drivers can make it go around Barcelona, get ready for Australia.”
And while new pilot Carlos Sainz was second fastest on the opening day of pre- season testing, the Spaniard has asked fans to hang in there with the team still yet to show its hand and progress needed.
SOUNDBITE (English) CARLOS SAINZ,
F1 DRIVER, McLAREN:
“I ask them to be supportive, to be patient because this is not going to be day to day all of a sudden start winning races. It’s going to take a bit of a process, we’re all going to work flat-out, everyone in the factory is working flat-out, the drivers will be working flat-out on driving flat-out and I’m sure we’re going to make it back.”
The 24-year-old has also upped his commitment after being replaced at Renault last year – Sainz moving from Spain, to England, now living just 15 minutes from the McLaren Technology Centre.
And he’ll need to be on form, against highly rated young gun Lando Norris, who, at 19 is the youngest-ever British F1 driver, youngest-ever McLaren driver, and has been preparing furiously for his debut.
SOUNDBITE (English) LANDO NORRIS,
F1 DRIVER, McLAREN:
“Training, so physically, mentally - going through with my engineers, as many things as we can from the strategy side of things, to driving on the simulator, driver preparation, [and] rules - there’s a lot of different things which are very different to the past few years in any other category.”
Together, Norris and Sainz will be a strong pairing; one further galvanised by imminent arrivals later this year in Andreas Seidl - who joins on as managing director, and James Key as technical director.
McLaren is back on the road to recovery, but the journey is no doubt going to be a long one, with it being years away from a championship challenge.