SJB Classic Article - Mercedes and McLaren Honda Launch Their 2016 F1 Cars, the W07 and the MP4-31


Originally Posted on SJB Supercars - http://www.sjbsupercars.com/single-post/2016/02/21/Mercedes-and-McLaren-Honda-Launch-Their-2016-F1-Cars-the-W07-and-the-MP431


Ex-partners Mercedes Benz and McLaren F1 have officially revealed their new creations for 2016 a day before pre-season testing begins in Spain. Sean Smith reports.

The final cars that will be previewed before testing for the 2016 season officially begins tomorrow morning have been shown to the world. After a couple of teaser images and videos, Mercedes Benz revealed the W07, unannounced and McLaren Honda revealed the MP4-31 in their scheduled online launch. Both cars are obvious evolutions on the 2015 predecessors with very few changes on both cars over what we saw at Abu Dhabi in November last year.

Firstly the new Mercedes showed its colours, the car is almost as identical to the 2015 version as the Williams was, minor changes on the surface are visible on the front and rear wing, and a few colour scheme changes with the addition of more black on the rear bodywork. Like the Williams, Mercedes have probably spent most of their time changing internals of the car, with the consistent rules only so much aerodynamic development can be made in such a short time and when you have as good a car as the Mercedes it’s unlikely you want to change a winning formula too much, the team also raced multiple races last year with a 2016-esque upgrade so there should be no reason to expect bedding in problems in Spain next week.

Mercedes have already completed 100km of testing after a filming day on Friday, Nico Rosberg was positive in following interviews and its clear Mercedes have only finessed the car rather than any complete overhaul. Technical director Paddy Lowe said the new car was “seeking optimisation absolutely everywhere”, siting Singapore last year as a major focus of where the team needed to find pace where the team were, rarely, off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull.

McLaren Honda revealed their new car half an hour later. Their car is even more identical to the old car than the Mercedes aside from a bigger number on the nose. It is very hard to see what the team have done over the winter. We do know Honda have completely gone back to the drawing board with the engine and McLaren have worked hard on the chassis upgrades, neither of which are shown on outside view launch photos. The car had its major aerodynamic changes applied at the British Grand Prix in July and the 2016 looks the same as it was then, the only areas of change I can see are on the suspension attachment to the chassis tub, minor alterations to the air box above the drivers head and similar louvres to Ferrari around the rear wheels. We’ll see if this is enough.

There was an accompanying video which showed the new exhaust module which all teams will be incorporating with extra pipes for wastegate in order try and raise the noise levels after two years of complaints of the 1.6ltr Turbocharged V6 units. McLaren Honda were reportedly 50 to 120bhp down on Mercedes and Ferrari in 2015, this deficit will have to be significantly lower this year if they are even to challenge Renault, reliability was also diabolical as Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button smashed all records for grid penalties, so much so that the FIA had to change the penalty system mid-season to stop the McLarens having to spend half the race driving through the pit lane. Both drivers will be begging that this season is a vast improvement over the last.

What do you think of the new Mercedes and Mclaren F1 cars, do you think their minimalist changes on the surface will come back to bite them. Let us know by getting in contact with us on Facebook, search SJB Supercars, Twitter @SJBSupercars and follow us on Instagram.

 

 

(Images courtesy of mclaren.com and mercedesamgf1.com - please click on the images for the original sources.)