McLaren Honda reveal all new team branding as the 2017 MCL 32 breaks cover ahead of pre season testing. On the back of a less than successful return to Honda power for the once dominant McLaren team, 2017 could well be a make or break season as the squad look to reinvent themselves in the wake of the parting of long time McLaren man Ron Dennis. Gone is the now synonymous silver paint scheme and in it's place sees a welcome return of the traditional McLaren International orange, with flashes of corporate black bringing a rather mean looking scheme to the car, the first time a McLaren has raced in anything other than the now traditional silver and black since the West and Mercedes inspired colours joined the car for the 1997 racing season, coincidentally a season in which marked a return to form for the British squad as long time McLaren protégé Mika Häkkinen wrapped up his first Grand Prix victory before going on to top the Formula One field for the following few years. Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, says: “The launch of a new Formula 1 car is always a time of anticipation and expectation. “At McLaren-Honda, we’re fully focused on returning our team to the top step of the podium – a task we view as a multi-year project that requires thorough strategic planning and execution. “Having analysed our corporate culture and structure with great care and attention, and having consequently made important improvements, we’re now confident that all the building blocks are in place, and that we now have the expertise, the experience, the energy and the enthusiasm successfully to make the journey back to the front. “We knew changes were required – and, now, with Zak [Brown], Jonathan [Neale] and Eric [Boullier], and of course our drivers Fernando [Alonso] and Stoffel [Vandoorne], backed by a superb team of men and women in both Woking [UK] and Sakura [Japan], we’re fully equipped to tackle this year’s exciting changes to the Formula 1 regulations, and, in addition to that, we’re already liaising strategically with the new owners of our sport, Liberty Media, to improve its spectacle and success.” Mansour Ojjeh, Executive Committee Principal, McLaren Technology Group, adds: “Over the past few months we’ve been working extremely hard to prepare for the new Formula 1 season – from every point of view – and the first visible output of that massive effort is a car that looks fantastic in my view. “Its colour scheme incorporates a significant nod to our team’s founder, the great Bruce McLaren, but it’s deliberately not orange all over. The black stripes and white trims not only add to the overall aesthetic effect, but also reference more recent colour schemes as well as the traditional corporate colour of our much-valued power unit partner, Honda, whose engineers have been toiling night and day over the past few months. “I’ve been involved in Formula 1 far too long to make precise performance predictions – more than 30 years – but I can say without fear of contradiction that we’re now in a very good place: we’ve got the right people, with the right attitude, motivated by the right kind of collaborative ambition, and we’re ready to continue to work as hard as is humanly possible to do what it takes to succeed. “I’m proud of them all.” It is worth noting that the scheme remains bereft of a major sponsor, something that has troubled the Woking team for a number of years since the loss of Vodafone and later Exxon backing in recent seasons. With a new colour scheme, new naming structure, brand new Honda power and a refreshed driving strength in the form of double World Champion Fernando Alonso and the talented Belgian star Stoffel Vandoorne, 2017 will be a big year for McLaren as the team look engineer a long overdue return to form. With Jenson Button now off enjoying his retirement from full time Grand Prix racing, the front line pilots for McLaren heading into the new season are keen to halt the gradual decline of the squad in recent years. “It’s really nice to see a McLaren looking like a proper McLaren. The livery is a great mix of the past and the future: the orange of the 1960s and ’70s, but pushed forwards. I really like it. As for the car itself, it looks great. There are so many beautiful little details – the gills on the nose hangers, the bargeboards, the front wing – it all looks incredibly well finished and thoroughly thought-out. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life. My preparation has been long, intense and meticulous. I’ve spent the winter training ferociously hard, I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been, and I’m raring to get going. This is my opportunity. And I’m ready says new for 2017 driver Stoffel Vandoorne For his part former World Champion Fernando Alonso remains as ready as ever to increase his win tally in Grand Prix racing. With a driver as talented and aggressive as Alonso it is almost criminal to let the driver finish out his career without adding to his trophy cabinet, and for the Spanish star 2017 must see a considerable improvement in fortunes if he is ever to add to his two previous World Championship victories to date: “I think there’s a lot to admire about what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months. Sure, the results haven’t really showcased it, but we’ve really made progress, and I think the whole team has gelled together through those difficult times. Now, at a moment of significant regulatory change, we need to capitalise on that period of uncertainty to push forwards – and I’m confident that we’ve got the expertise to do just that. “What I’ve seen of the MCL32 appears to be really promising – the new regulations seem to be well thought-out, and the cars look fast and aggressive. The look of the car makes me really want to get in the cockpit – I’ve lost none of that all-important hunger every Formula 1 driver needs. Training over the winter has gone well – I worked really hard – and I can’t wait to get going in the car as I say. “We still think the start of the season will be a challenge – we can’t ignore the fact that we’re still coming from a significant step behind the current front-runners – but I’d like to think we can target the second half of the year as a time when we’ll really be able to start making useful performance steps. The aim is to look respectable this year – and I’d like to think we can achieve that.” With many cars having already broken cover and pre season testing just around the corner, it looks like 2017 is ready to become yet another interesting year in Formula One. Can McLaren pull themselves back up to the front of the grid once again, or is the new team style just a final roll of the dice as the team sink further away from their rightful spot at the front of the sport. Only time will tell.... You can discuss more from the world of Formula One in our dedicated Formula One sub forum here at RaceDepartment. Head on over and join in the action today! Do you like the look of the new McLaren? Can the team challenge further up the grid this season? Let us know in the comments section below!