McLaren MCL35M Car Launch 2021 – what’s changed?

McLaren car 2021

Last night brought the first car launch of the 2021 season and the McLaren team didn’t disappoint. In possibly the strangest evening, we saw the drivers’ rapping skills, a lot of virtual fans and most importantly the new and (hopefully) improved 2021 McLaren car. Here’s the rundown of everything you might have missed.

First things first… the car

At first glance, the livery doesn’t look drastically different to the 2020 car. Despite this, the new Mercedes engine did in fact mean that the shape of the car is different. As you can see from the tweet below, there are some clear changes to the rear wing, as well as in the shape of the front wing and the body of the car. As you can see, the floor of the car tapers in where the body is thinner near the engine cover. This is something that the McLaren engineers hope will lead to obvious improvements for the team this year, including many more podiums and wins.

In addition, the more aesthetic changes are slight but very attractive. There are some minor changes in the blue on the body of the car and of course some changes surrounding the halo. While the rainbow has gone, the ‘end racism’ motto remains, reminding everyone about the importance messages of equality that remain in the sport. Ultimately this car is again vibrant and it will be exciting to see it on the track throughout 2021.

The Boys…

While the car should have been the most important part of the launch, Lando and Daniel stole the show for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is always exciting to see a driver in new colours and for Daniel Ricciardo, this was of course the case. Seeing the Aussie in papaya got everyone excited for the new season and to see all of the other new driver combinations in the upcoming launches. Surprisingly, it was neither of the drivers who made us smile the most at the launch. Daniel’s nephew Isaac made everyone a little emotional when he sent Daniel a message to say good luck. This video reminded us that these drivers have given up so much for Formula 1 to continue during the pandemic. I think everyone had a newfound appreciation for everyone involved in entertaining us throughout the season.

Finally, and most weirdly, the other notable moment of the McLaren launch was the musical mastery of Lando and Daniel. Being surrounded by talented musicians inspired the drivers to attempt to play a variety of instruments, and most hilariously, their voices. I know we are all counting down the days until Bahrain when we can hear the final song. Until then, we can laugh and enjoy watching the two drivers in the studio.

Bring on the next one!

After the first launch, everyone is very excited for the other nine to come and the season in general. This season we will see two new teams and almost the entire grid changing their driver line ups. Given this, there is so much to find out and these launches, even virtually, are a good place to start. We will quickly see the dynamics between these driver combinations. This is very exciting and we are all counting down the days until the next launch on Friday (19th).

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