Image credits: © McLaren.

Circuit de Catalunya, Monday 23rd January 2006: The Team McLaren Mercedes 2006 Formula One car, the MP4-21, made its track debut today at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. The MP4-21 is fundamentally a new car, however the basic concept is an evolution of the 2005 challenger, the MP4-20, which won ten out of the season's 19 Grands Prix.

Test driver, Pedro de la Rosa, was at the wheel of the MP4-21 as it left the garage for the first time at 09:15 local time to complete its installation lap. Juan Pablo Montoya will take over driving duties for tomorrow, Tuesday 24th, and Wednesday 25th, wîth Kimi Raikkonen having his debut runs on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th January. Pedro and fellow test driver Gary Paffett will test alongside the team's race drivers in an interim MP4-20, continuing the Michelin tyre development programme, until chassis two of the new car is scheduled to hit the test track in Valencia sometime during the week commencing 13th February.

'I am really pleased to have been at the wheel of MP4-21 today' said Pedro. 'The car feels good initially, but it is of course too early to really understand it's potential and we need to put a lot more laps on it. We have around 20 days of on track running before the cars leave for Bahrain on Friday 3rd March. As today is the initial shakedown, our focus will be to familiarise ourselves wîth the MP4-21 and the Mercedes-Benz FO 108S V8 engine, and to run the various systems checks that are required wîth a new car.'

'Everyone at Team McLaren Mercedes is lòòking forward to the challenges ahead this season, and we took a major step in our preparations for 2006 today by starting to test the MP4-21 at Barcelona,' commented Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes. 'The anticipation within the team as to how competitive the new car will be is great, particularly given the pace of our 2005 racer and the level of work that has been put into the MP4-21 project. However these are early days, we have a comprehensive programme to complete wîth the car over the next few weeks. This will mean hard and dedicated work from the whole team supported by our Technology Partners and Official Suppliers, including an aggressive schedule of upgrades to come on line before Bahrain.'

The revised engine regulations for 2006, wîth the change from V10 to V8, has dominated the overall design process. Research into a direction for the MP4-21 began in August 2004, when Team McLaren Mercedes started to consider the new V8, 2.4 litre power plant, which as in 2005 has to last for two Grands Prix weekend. Designed and built from scratch, the Mercedes-Benz FO 108S V8, which ran for the first time at Silverstone on 13th September 2005 following its dyno debut on 15th June of the same year, also has to conform to the below restrictions:
- V-angle of the cylinders set a 90 degrees
- Úse of a maximum of two inlet and exhaust valves each, previously restrictions have only covered the number of cylinders and a limit of five valves
- Minimum engine weight of 95 kilograms
- Maximum cylinder bore of 98 millimetres
- The position of the engine's centre of gravity
- Precisely defined alloys for the manufacturing of engine components
'The challenge wîth a brand new Formula One car is the same every year, but nevertheless there were even more intensive tasks to be dealt wîth this year than ever before,' said Norbert Haug, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. 'The regulations require new V8 engines wîth a 2.4-litre capacity, and in addition to this the need to compensate for the restriction of the aerodynamics, this took a lot of time and effort. The power reduction by more than 150 bhp put additional strain on the aerodynamic concept. The aim was to further reduce drag and maintain or even increase downforce – which wîth the given limitations reminded the technicians that it is possible to achieve the impossible. As a result of this complex task it was important to invest sufficient time before the final definitions were made. We are very satisfied that the new MP4-21 has had a successful debut today. Its basic data promises that we have got a good basis. Our new engine covered about 6500 kilometres on track and more than double this amount on the dynos in Brixworth and Stuttgart. Now it is our task to prepare the new car for Bahrain in six more tests wîth more than 20 testing days when most of the time two MP4-21s will be run following Barcelona. The aim is to continue on last year's level of performance.'

In October of 2004, the design team began its research into revised engine systems concepts, wîth the new regulations providing the opportunity to develop areas such as the cooling system, air and oil consumption and fuel supply.

'The development of the Mercedes-Benz V8 engine, and its ancillary areas, has seen McLaren Racing provide a strong supporting role to Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines, further integrating the facilities in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart,' added Martin Whitmarsh.

Aerodynamics also received early attention, wîth the development programme starting as the 2005 season was getting underway in April of that year and the aero specification set in late October / early November. A key area of focus was the opportunity to exploit the smaller power unit by repackaging the rear of the car. In addition, the regulation change that stipulates the forward deflectors ahead of the reference plane must be raised by 50mm proved to be significant to the aerodynamics of MP4-21 and required innovative solutions from the Team McLaren Mercedes design team.

April 2005 also saw initial transmission and drive train work begin and the following month, the first spec of MP4-21 was issued by the design team. By September, production had begun, wîth chassis manufacturing starting one month later.

Other key regulation changes include the increase in crash test loads to the rear structure by 50 per cent, leading to the development of complex composite structures to absorb the required energy. Late December saw the MP4-21 chassis complete its first FIA crash test.

On the sporting side, there is a new qualifying format and the return to tyre changes in pit stops. The latter has been a focus of the extensive winter testing schedule throughout December and January to date, wîth the team working alongside Michelin to develop the new compounds and constructions for 2006. By the end of the final test in December 2005, Team McLaren Mercedes had covered over 6,000kms wîth the Mercedes-Benz V8 engine.

'Visually MP4-21 will look very similar to MP4-20,' said Jonathan Neale, Managing Director of McLaren Racing. 'In addition to the tighter packaging to the rear of the car, people will notice differences to the nose area, which has been lowered, and the aero body work, such as the barge boards and deflectors. The reduction in required cooling for the V8 engine has allowed us to in turn reduce the size of air intakes, this includes apertures in the main chassis, which is beneficial to the overall aerodynamic package. There are a significant number of changes in the cars structure, geometry and aerodynamics as a consequence of 16 months of R&D innovation. At McLaren Racing, we have a strong team of 135 engineers, and all have made a vital contribution. Now the new car has been released, our primary short term focus will switch to durability testing, proving the software, the systems and the 11,500 car components, 90% of which have changed from MP4-20. In addition we have a series of engine and chassis performance packages to bring to the car for the initial races. There is a lot of work to be done.'

Source - McLaren/DaimlerChrysler

August 2004:

First engine design meeting
October 2004: Engine specification first issue
April 2005: Layout work started on MP4-21
First design meeting
Mid April 2005: Gearbox simulation
May 2005: Car specification first issue
First scheming of gearbox
15th June 2005: First dyno test for V8 engine
Early July 2005: Windtunnel work commences
July 2005: First drawing for gearbox
August 2005: Datum sheet Issue, final dimensions
September 2005: First track test for Mercedes-Benz V8 engine
Gearbox production begun
October 2005: Chassis manufacturing begun
November 2005: Car mock-up ready: Chassis
Initial engine
Final engine
December 2005: First chassis ready for bonding
FIA test on first chassis
First car build started
January 2006: First full power gearbox dyno test
First car build finished
First track test of MP4-21
March 2006: Final shakedown before first race
3rd March 2006: Cars depart McLaren Technology Centre for first race

Source - McLaren

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2006 Formula One Season
Mild Seven Renault F1 TeamRenaultR26 Formula 1 Spain Fernando Alonso
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
Scuderia Ferrari MarlboroFerrari
Brazil Felipe Massa
Germany Michael Schumacher 
Team McLaren MercedesMcLaren
Spain Pedro Martínez de la Rosa
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
Finland Kimi-Matias Raikkonen 
Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 TeamHonda
Racing RA106 Formula 1 
Brazil Rubens Gonçalves 'Rubinho' Barrichello
United Kingdom Jenson Alexander Lyons Button 
BMW Sauber F1 TeamBMW
Sauber F1 F1.06 
Germany Nick Lars Heidfeld
Poland Robert Józef Kubica
Canada Jacques Villeneuve 
Panasonic Toyota RacingToyota
Germany Ralf Schumacher
Italy Jarno Trulli 
Red Bull RacingRed Bull
United Kingdom David Marshall Coulthard
Netherlands Robert Michael Doornbos
Austria Christian Klien 
WilliamsF1 TeamWilliams
Germany Nico Erik Rosberg
Australia Mark Alan Webber 
Scuderia Toro RossoScuderia Toro Rosso
Italy Vitantonio 'Tonio' Liuzzi
United States Scott Andrew Speed 
10 Midland F1 RacingMidland
Netherlands Christijan Albers
Portugal Tiago Vagaroso da Costa Monteiro 
11 Super Aguri F1 TeamSuper Aguri
Japan Yuji Ide
France Franck Montagny
Japan Takuma Sato
Japan Sakon Yamamoto 

2006 Season Review
RaceCircuitDateWinning DriverConstructor
 Bahrain Grand Prix  Bahrain International CircuitMar 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 Malaysian Grand Prix  SepangMar 2006  Giancarlo FisichellaRenault 
 Australian Grand Prix  Melbourne Grand Prix CircuitApr 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 San Marino Grand Prix  Autodromo Enzo e Dino FerrariApr 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 European Grand Prix  NürburgringMay 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 Spanish Grand Prix  Circuit de CatalunyaMay 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 Monaco Grand Prix  MonacoMay 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 British Grand Prix  SilverstoneJun 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 Canadian Grand Prix  Circuit Gilles VilleneuveJun 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 United States Grand Prix  IndianapolisJul 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 French Grand Prix  Circuit de Nevers Magny-CoursJul 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 German Grand Prix  HockenheimringJul 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 Hungarian Grand Prix  HungaroringAug 2006  Jenson Alexander Lyons ButtonHonda 
 Turkish Grand Prix  Istanbul ParkAug 2006  Felipe MassaFerrari 
 Italian Grand Prix  MonzaSep 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 Chinese Grand Prix  ShanghaiOct 2006  Michael SchumacherFerrari 
 Japanese Grand Prix  Fuji SpeedwayOct 2006  Fernando AlonsoRenault 
 Brazilian Grand Prix  Autódromo José Carlos Pace, InterlagosOct 2006  Felipe MassaFerrari 

Formula One World Drivers' Champions
1950 G. Farina
1951 J. Fangio
1952 A. Ascari
1953 A. Ascari
1954 J. Fangio
1955 J. Fangio
1956 J. Fangio
1957 J. Fangio
1958 M. Hawthorn
1959 S. Brabham
1960 S. Brabham
1961 P. Hill, Jr
1962 N. Hill
1963 J. Clark, Jr.
1964 J. Surtees
1965 J. Clark, Jr.
1966 S. Brabham
1967 D. Hulme
1968 N. Hill
1969 S. Stewart
1970 K. Rindt
1971 S. Stewart
1972 E. Fittipaldi
1973 S. Stewart
1974 E. Fittipaldi
1975 A. Lauda
1976 J. Hunt
1977 A. Lauda
1978 M. Andretti
1979 J. Scheckter
1980 A. Jones
1981 N. Piquet
1982 K. Rosberg
1983 N. Piquet
1984 A. Lauda
1985 A. Prost
1986 A. Prost
1987 N. Piquet
1988 A. Senna
1989 A. Prost
1990 A. Senna
1991 A. Senna
1992 N. Mansell
1993 A. Prost
1994 M. Schumacher
1995 M. Schumacher
1996 D. Hill
1997 J. Villeneuve
1998 M. Hakkinen
1999 M. Hakkinen
2000 M. Schumacher
2001 M. Schumacher
2002 M. Schumacher
2003 M. Schumacher
2004 M. Schumacher
2005 F. Alonso
2006 F. Alonso
2007 K. Raikkonen
2008 L. Hamilton
2009 J. Button
2010 S. Vettel
2011 S. Vettel
2012 S. Vettel
2013 S. Vettel
2014 L. Hamilton
2015 L. Hamilton
2016 N. Rosberg
2017 L. Hamilton


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