With preseason testing for this year’s Formula One season well underway, we’ve gotten a good look at McLaren’s new car, MP4-29. Driven by former World Champion Lewis Hamilton and Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen, McLaren is looking for the MP4-29 to help them rebound from their unsuccessful season last year, which marked the teams first full season without a podium since 1980.
Like the other teams, McLaren found accommodating to this years rule changes, mainly the aerodynamic regulations and the new 1.6 liter, turbocharged V6 engines, particularly challenging.
“We’ve never had such significant new regulations before; reacting to them, and managing those changes, while still pushing the performance limits, has been an extremely tough job,” said Jonathan Neale, McLaren’s managing director.
Seeing as the changes to this years rules are so dramatic, reliability will play a big factor in success rate. The team knows this, and so do the drivers.
“Yes – particularly in the first few races, where I think you’ll be able to gain a lot of points if you have a reliable car. F1 over the last few years has become very reliable. I think we’re going back to early 2000s now in terms of reliability levels,” said Jenson Button during a Twitter session last week.
Even after missing the first day of testing due to an electrical failure, the MP4-29 has proved to be one of the more reliable cars on the grid. Jenson Button managed to get 43 laps in yesterday while Teammate Jan Magnussen experienced further success today, completing a 52-lap stint and posting the fastest lap of testing so far.
“I’m not really looking into the lap times. I’m very happy we did, but especially happy with the laps we got in, and how many Jenson got in. I think the reliability of the car has been much better than we thought it would be, hopefully it will continue. It might not but we will continue learning and building the idea of where to go from here,” Magnussen told ESPN.