Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22
By: Jeremy McMullen
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By: Jeremy McMullen
| Complete with cultural and improvisational dancing, an extensive fireworks display, and a late night parade up and down Valencia's streets it wouldn't have been hard to believe royalty were present. Yet for the people of Spain, they were out to catch a glimpse of their king and champion with his new steed. And if pomp and circumstance translated into success McLaren would all but have the whole thing locked up.
Sparing no expense, Valencia welcomed its champion and his new team. It was estimated that around 150,000 people crowded along the streets to catch a glimpse of their hero. Fernando Alonso, with fellow Spaniard Pedro de le Rosa, flanked the new MP4-22 with fellow drivers Lewis Hamilton and Gary Paffet. Olympic style opening ceremonies, however, don't win championships and McLaren are coming off a year without a victory. This is the first time Team McLaren has failed to win a race during a season in a decade. Yet, the king, the reigning king, has confidence the MP4-22 will continue his term at the top, as well as, bringing McLaren back to the constructor's pinnacle.
Though considered the class of the field at the start of the season last year, the MP4-21 never achieved the results it was seemingly destined. Much has been made that the differing styles of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya played a large part in the failure. To put the problem into an analogy, it was similar to a dog with two masters and both of the masters wanting different things from the dog. The car was unable to be developed if the team wanted to please both drivers. With Fernando Alonso and the young Lewis Hamilton as McLaren's drivers line-up, the Woking, England based team believes it now has the drivers, and the car to help the whole team reach its potential.
When looking at the new MP4-22, aesthetically, it boasts of one significant change that connects it with Ferrari. Adorning the sidepods of the McLaren is the now familiar Vodafone logo. Vodafone representatives decided to leave Ferrari after having been with the Maranello team for the past few years. But besides the obvious aesthetic differences, the MP4-22 carries with it some further changes and revisions over its MP4-21 brethren.