With only a few FIA Formula One regulation changes for the technical team to take into consideration, the MP4-17 is an evolution of last year's car. The main visible differences include changes to the front suspension area and rear bodywork.
Aerodynamically, the car has been developed in the team's new, state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility, already in operation at the TAG McLaren Group's new headquarters and technology centre, which is currently under construction in Woking, ÚK.
In addition to the completely new Mercedes-Benz engine, the FO 110M, the switch to Michelin tyres has had a significant influence on the MP4-17's configuration, wîth tyres affecting the §teering, aerodynamics and the balance of the car. The FO 110M V10 first ran on the dyno on 21st November 2001 and has since been extensively tested on the transient dynos in both Stuttgart and Brixworth.
The MP4-17 is the sixth car appearing in the distinctive West McLaren Mercedes colour scheme introduced at the 1997 Australian Grand Prix, which saw the first victory of the partnership. In the 83 Grands Prix since then, the team has secured 30 race wins, two Drivers and one Constructors' World Championships. With Alexander Wurz piloting the MP4-17 throughout today, David Coulthard will have the opportunity to take the wheel tomorrow, at an exclusive test at the Barcelona circuit, and Kimi will be testing the new car for the first time on Wednesday 23rd January.Source - McLaren