McLaren launches first car of post-Fernando Alonso era


McLaren has unveiled the car which will contend the 2019 Formula One season without Fernando Alonso at the helm.

The British team has struggled in recent years and goes in to the new season with its least experienced driver line-up in recent memory -- Spaniard Carlos Sainz will team up with McLaren junior Lando Norris. It fell well short of its pre-season promises of returning to podium contention in 2018, instead labouring to sixth in the championship. That campaign prompted a vast reorganisation of the team's operation by CEO Zak Brown.

The 2019 car will retain the shade of orange associated with team founder Bruce McLaren's original entries in the world championship. After several decades driving in grey or black cars, Brown had the team return to the iconic colours ahead of the 2017 season. The team has inverted its race suits, with Sainz and Norris appearing on stage during the event with predominantly blue overalls.

Alonso, who drove for McLaren between 2015 and 2018, remains affiliated with the team but his primary focus this season remains on his World Endurance Championship commitments with Toyota and his second attempt to win the Indy 500 with a McLaren entry at the famous oval race this May.

There had been speculation the Spaniard would conduct a day of pre-season testing with the team in Barcelona, but the press release which accompanied the launch confirmed Sainz and Norris will split those duties between them.

Speaking about the car launch, CEO Brown said: "The MCL34 is the result of an immense amount of hard work and dedication throughout our team. We're all committed, motivated and united in our ambition to return McLaren to competitiveness, and the MCL34 is only the start of this process.

"We have a fresh driver pairing, who together represent the new generation of Formula 1 talent, and are an integral part of the team and our collective effort to advance McLaren forward.

"The McLaren family is not only our people and our drivers, but also our superb partners and wonderful fans. We have a strong community of partners which continues to grow, and an incredible fanbase, who have all remained loyal and supportive throughout our highs and lows, and I'd like to thank them as we head into the 2019 season. As ever, we move fearlessly forward."