The move away from Renault propulsion was due to coincide with the biggest revision in technical regulations for the past decade in 2021, but following the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic those changes have been pushed back to 2022. All 2021 F1 cars are, therefore, developments of those from 2020, with changes to the aerodynamic rules to actually slow the cars down slightly.
Although a Mercedes engine is far from a golden ticket, as adapting the 2020 MCL35 to fit the new V6-hybrid powertrain (even though the power unit itself has, by regulation, the same mounting points) is incredibly complicated, the German manufacturer’s engines are the strongest and most reliable in the sport – this is an exciting moment for McLaren.
The chassis, body and suspension are made from carbon-fibre, as you’d expect, as well as a crazy number of other pieces, and so the car weighs 752kg, including the driver but excluding fuel. Between 45.4 and 46.4 per cent of the car’s weight distribution is on the front axle.
The power unit, known as the Mercedes-AMG M12 E Performance, weighs 150kg and is comprised of an internal combustion engine (a 1.6-litre, 90-degree, twin-turbo V6), a Motor Generator Unit – Kinetic (the MGU-K), a Motor Generator Unit – Heat (the MGU-H), and an Energy Store (ES). The overall peak power figure is said to be somewhere near 1,000PS (735kW), although this being Formula 1 no one other than the teams themselves will really know for sure.
So here it is, then, the first 2021 F1 car. With such a strong season in 2020, will the MCL35M be able to go one better than Carlos Sainz’s second place at Monza and take the team’s first win since 2012?
Make sure you know when the next reveal is with our 2021 F1 car launch guide.