When McLaren switched from Mercedes-AMG power units to Honda ones for the 2015 Formula One season, it did so with the hope of recreating the success McLaren-Honda had in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Instead, the technical partnership got off on the wrong foot and has struggled ever since.
But Friday, the team revealed the car it hopes can put McLaren-Honda back at the front of the grid: The MCL32.
Over the past few weeks, many people — ourselves included — speculated McLaren was going to return to the orange and white livery that adorned the cars Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost drove to four constructor titles. While it might not have given the MCL32 an entirely retro look, having kept black as the primary color, it did reintroduce the colors many older fans have come to associate with the Woking, U.K.-based outfit.
Some might find it odd that McLaren would hearken back to the first McLaren-Honda race cars, give that, as part of its “de-Ron Dennis-ification,” it did away with the MP4 prefix those cars made famous. Orange, however, has been part of McLaren’s identity since long before its Marlboro-branded turbo cars.
The team’s founder, Bruce McLaren — who also was one of the drivers of the original Ford GT40 — famously painted his early race cars Kiwi Orange. That’s why it’s no surprise the color also will appear on Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne’s overalls.
Although some teams, such as Sahara Force India, are dramatically changing the shape of their cars’ noses for 2017, McLaren seems to be taking the same approach as Mercedes by adapting the design it used last year for the new regulations.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@McLarenF1