As well as a new car, McLaren has added luxury watch brand Richard Mille to its partners as well as employing Volvo Trucks as their new haulage supplier. Honda backed driver Nobuharu Matsushita has been added to the teams line-up as a test and development driver.
Despite optimism for the year ahead, Ron Dennis was reluctant to talk about wins. “We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come,” he admitted. “[However] I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.”
“We remain resolute in our commitment to our goals,” he continued. “We maintain an indefatigable commitment to the winning potential of a full works team. Believe me: the full works backing of a multinational automotive manufacturer is the only platform from which real success in modern Formula 1 can be achieved. As McLaren-Honda, therefore, we’ve vowed to work together, and to win together, and that determination has become further cemented as our relationship has deepened through the shared challenges we faced last year.”
For drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, who have come off the back of a very difficult season for the team, it is a chance to make strides forward. “The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead,” Alonso said. “This year is no different: I’m excited and raring to go. Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership. It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot. Likewise it’s been a very productive winter for me. I’ve been training extremely hard, as usual, but also enjoying time with my family, and keeping tabs on all the hard work going on at the McLaren Technology Centre.”
“The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail,” Alonso concluded. “The whole car is beautiful in fact- it’s particularly nicely packaged from the aerodynamic point of view. I’m 100% ready for the challenge ahead.”
Button is equally as enthusiastic about the year ahead. “I really can’t wait to take the wheel of the new MP4-31 tomorrow,” he revealed. All Formula 1 drivers need a winter break, but I’m massively excited to get started on the 2016 season now, and I have to say the new [car] really looks the part. Moreover, having spent quite a bit of time at the McLaren Technology Centre recently, I can tell you that there’s a huge amount of palpable positive energy there at the moment, despite the challenging yet steep learning curve we all travelled along in 2015.”
“Despite the ups and downs we saw last year, there were steady improvements all year long and that gives us confidence in the design direction we’re taking,” he continued. “There are a lot of positives we can build on, and a strong platform to take forward. The immense amount of sheer hard work that has gone into the development of the MP4-31 over the winter makes me immensely proud, and consequently I go into the new season with even more motivation and belief.”