Key hails ‘fantastic job’ by McLaren design team amid challenges

McLaren technical director James Key praised his engineering department for developing the “best possible package” for the 2021 season while contending with a series of big design and procedure challenges in the past months.

Unlike its rivals, McLaren’s task of carrying over its 2020 chassis and adapting its design to this season’s rule changes was complicated by its switch from Renault to Mercedes power.

While teams were awarded two development tokens to update their car this season, McLaren was forced to spend its entire allocation on the integration of its new Mercedes power unit.

But COVID-19 procedures at Woking, which included remote working for a portion of McLaren’s staff, added another layer of difficulty to the outfiy’s engineering and design work.


“Despite relatively stable technical regulations from 2020, there are several significant aerodynamic changes to the rules that are important to get right,” Key explained ahead of Monday’s team launch.

“Every change to these regulations presents an opportunity, and the team in Woking has been working incredibly hard in difficult conditions to maximise those opportunities.

“One of the key elements of the MCL35M design is the integration of the Mercedes-AMG power unit, which has taken a considerable effort from the team in Woking, as well as our colleagues at Mercedes.

“Despite our limited scope for installation in a homologated car, the team has done a fantastic job of optimising our design work.

“Building a Formula 1 car is never easy. These are the fastest and most technically complex racing cars in the world and that challenge has only been compounded by the covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year, the team in the factory has been subject to incredibly strict, rigorous testing and working procedures aimed at keeping our people safe.

“I’m immensely proud of how our incredible group of people has risen to this challenge and developed the best possible package.”

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl echoed Key’s praise for the papaya squad’s efforts, insisting that producing the MCL35M was “no small challenge”.

“All of us at McLaren are ready and determined for another season of intensely competitive Formula 1 racing,” said Seidl.

“The entire team has worked hard over the short winter, together with our colleagues from Mercedes-AMG, to produce the MCL35M and provide a strong car for our drivers to race this year.

“This has been no small challenge, and I want to thank every member of our team, whether at the MTC or working remotely, for the massive effort they’ve put in. Lando and Daniel will, I know, do their very best to represent the team out on track.”

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