Phillip Horton  |    |   1  |  23 February 2018

McLaren unveils striking 2018 F1 car, the MCL33

McLaren has unveiled its papaya and blue-liveried MCL33, as it prepares to welcome in a new era, following the truncation of its disastrous Honda partnership.

McLaren opted to form a works partnership with Honda for 2015, rekindling the iconic late 1980s/early 1990s association, but a lack of reliability and performance hit its prospects.

Honda overhauled its power unit concept for 2017 but was plagued by early problems, by which time the relationship proved irreparable, and McLaren began seeking an alternative for 2018.

Having secured a best race result of only fifth, and twice finished a lacklustre ninth in the standings, across three years, McLaren ditched Honda in favour of Renault power.

On the driver front, Fernando Alonso will stay on for 2018, having been convinced to commit his future to McLaren in the wake of its Renault deal, which ended months of speculation.

Alonso, without a race victory since his 2013 Spanish Grand Prix success with Ferrari, will also contest the World Endurance Championship with Toyota, providing a busy schedule for the Spaniard.

McLaren chief Zak Brown has stressed that Formula 1 takes priority for Alonso, who is chasing motorsport’s unofficial ‘Triple Crown’, having made his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2017.

Alonso will again be joined by Stoffel Vandoorne, who stepped up full-time last season, scoring a best result of seventh, achieved in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Lando Norris, meanwhile, graduates to an official test/reserve role, following his first Formula 1 runs in 2017, and will battle it out for Formula 2 honours with Carlin, having claimed last year’s Formula 3 crown.

"The McLaren team was created by a brave pioneer, and has had bravery at its core ever since. Whether it’s been with brave drivers, brave leaders or brave fortune, this team has always fought back," said Brown.

“And we definitely view 2018 as the year when McLaren will move closer to the front, fighting teams and drivers as we improve our fortunes. 

“We have an excellent team, a new engine partner in Renault and a host of fantastic new partnerships: Airgain, CNBC, Dell Technologies, Kimoa and Petrobras have all been welcomed to the McLaren family. 

“Our return to a papaya orange livery for this year wasn’t simply an emotional decision; it demonstrates that we are listening to our fans, building deeper engagement with them and the Formula 1 community as a whole. 

“We want McLaren to earn respect on and off the track, and this felt like a good starting point. We want to show everyone what makes this team special, whether that’s our fans or our partners – there’s room for more on our journey.”

The MCL33 will take to the track for the first time at Spanish circuit Navarra on Friday, as part of a filming day.

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