McLaren launches 2012 challenger

McLaren took the wraps off their latest car, the MP4-27, this morning in theirWokingfactory with former world champions eager to return to title winning form in 2012.

With Red Bull proving the dominant force in Formula 1 at present the launch of the new McLaren was one of the most anticipated events of the preseason. Could the team that has struggled out of the blocks in recent years reverse that trend and produce a genuine challenger for the championship?

Until the opening race of the season there is no way of knowing the progress made by the team. Jenson Button, last season’s title runner-up, however was keen to praise the hard work of his team throughout the winter with the 32 year old Englishman saying:

I’m very excited,” said Button during the launch. “This is the moment we see how hard we have all been working. It’s a very exciting day.cThese guys have been flat out since we finished racing in 2011 on improving the car as much as they could in the simulator and I’m looking forward to getting out in it at Jerez.”

His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand spoke of returning to action refreshed and ready for the new season. The 2008 champion spent most of the winter away from Formula 1 in America and he looked relaxed throughout the launch an went on to say:

“I didn’t miss the car too much. It was nice to be away from it for a while, to refresh.”

Hamiltoncontinued by saying:

“I think it is fantastic. It’s great to be here after a great winter. Seeing hard work going into building this car is inspiring. It is most refined-looking car we have had for some time so we are looking forward to getting back in it.”

The new car is clearly an evolution of last year’s successful car but with some striking differences. The most noticeable is the team reverting from their “U-Shaped” sidepods to a more traditional configuration. The MP4-27 also features a bulbous nose to the car but not the ugly, drooping front wing of the new Caterham.

When winter testing begins in Jerez next week Button will have the first day of running in the new car.

Updates to follow throughout the day.

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