The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team today launched the car it will campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at its headquarters in Woking, England.
Únveiled by world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the new MP4-24 bears little resemblance to its world championship-winning predecessor due to the introduction of a raft of new rules that have reshaped Formula 1 ahead of the 2009 season.
Now featuring heavily revised bodywork, re-sculpted front and rear wings, slick tyres and a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), the MP4-24 has been in development since September 2007 in order to successfully accommodate the huge changes to the technical regulations.
The team has already completed two MP4-24 chassis and begins publicly testing at the Autodromo do Algarve circuit in Portugal on Monday. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa will conduct the first two days before Lewis (Wednesday) and Heikki (Thursday) sample the car.
Lewis Hamilton 'The arrival of a new car is always an emotional moment for any racing driver - and the unveiling of MP4-24 is even more special for me, not only because the car looks absolutely stunning but also because it carries the world champion's number one. I believe this year's world championship is open, given the new rule changes and that's a great prospect for every Formula 1 fan. Personally, I'm hoping for another successful season and the chance to once again fight for the title - until the final race if necessary, but preferably before!'
Engine : 2.4 L., 8-cylinder
Heikki Kovalainen 'I'm fortunate enough to have watched behind the scenes as this year's car has taken shape and I've been amazed at just how hard everybody in Woking. Brixworth and Stuttgart has worked. Over the winter, I also feel like I've had the opportunity to prepare fully for the year ahead: I've been busy training and working wîth my engineers to ensure we start the season as strongly as possible. With so many new rules, adapting quickly will be essential and I feel more prepared than ever for the new season.'
Ron Dennis Chairman & CEO, McLaren Group Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Despite our victory in the 2008 drivers' world championship we have taken nothing for granted in our preparations for the season ahead. Indeed, if anything, our efforts to fully understand this period of huge regulatory change have been more thorough and concerted than ever before. And while the scale of the technical changes makes it difficult to accurately assess the true competitive outlook of the year ahead, as a team we can feel proud of our efforts and look forward to another close season of Formula 1 motor racing. As ever, we exist to win and our target remains the successful acquisition of both this year's drivers' and constructors' world titles.'
Martin Whitmarsh COO, McLaren Group CEO Formula 1, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Such profound changes to the sport make it difficult to predict which teams will have most successfully developed their cars for the new technical regulations. These rules have presented us wîth considerable challenges throughout the design process of MP4-24 but we have thoroughly interpreted all their ramifications in order to design a car we can feel proud of. We are also optimistic that the Overtaking Working Group's findings will help create a more thrilling and exciting sport that will provide greater entertainment and value to our biggest customers: the general public.'
Norbert Haug Vice-president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 'In sporting terms, the 2009 Formula 1 season will be a highly interesting one, particularly because of the so far biggest technical challenges in contemporary Formula 1 history. These include new aerodynamic rules, the reintroduction of slick tyres, the implementation of KERS combined wîth stringent testing restrictions. We developed and built the new car at most favourable conditions and it turned out to be strikingly elegant. Our colleagues in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart did an excellent job. I am convinced that the rule changes combined wîth drastic cost reduction measures will improve the Formula 1 show - and that's great for the interested spectators.'
David Wheldon Global brand director, Vodafone Group 'With nearly three months until the opening grand prix of the season, today's launch of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 raises anticipation and expectations before the first race in Australia in March. With new regulations and new cars, the season ahead looks likely to be more dramatic than ever and, like every Formula 1 fan, we are excited about the year ahead. Every Vodafone employee is lòòking forward to another successful season wîth Lewis and Heikki. We wish the whole team all the best for 2009.'Source - Vodafone McLaren
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES SNAPS UP OLYMPUS PARTNERSHIP
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is delighted to announce Olympus as the team's official supplier of photographic services.
Olympus has a rich history of involvement wîth Formula 1 through previous sponsorships and has worked closely wîth and has photographed some of the sport's legendary drivers such as Mario Andretti, Ronnie Peterson, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Hunt and Senna both won Drivers' World Championships wîth McLaren.
With the new Partnership, Olympus will continue to develop its relationship wîth the sport by working alongside Vodafone McLaren Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett. British photographer Jon Nicholson, using the Olympus E system, will spend the 2008 season wîth the team, capturing not only the on-track action but also an exclusive and intimate behind the scenes story as the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team's Championship challenge unfolds.
Ron Dennis, Team Principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes commented: 'We are delighted to welcome a renowned brand such as Olympus to our partner portfolio and look forward to a long and successful co-operation. It's always a tremendous boost for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes when we announce a new partner and to be able to do so only a few days before the start of the new season in Australia makes it even more significant. Formula 1 as a sport attacks every sense, be it sound or smell, but most importantly it is very visual. Photography can capture iconic moments in time on the race track in a way moving pictures don't allow, and it therefore forms an important element of our communication. Olympus is a visionary organisation, they seek to innovate in every area they work in and we are excited about the opportunities they can help us explore together in this area.'
Olympus Managing Director Graeme Chapman said: 'We are delighted to be involved wîth the most exciting team in the sport. I am lòòking forward to more vintage results both on the track and on the back of Jon's E3 SLR'
As part of the partnership Olympus will post a selection of photographs from each race at www.Olympus.co.uk and provide links from there and also run a competition where entrants can win the photographic equipment used by Jon Nicholson during the 2008 race season.
FAST FACTS The two organisations have shared significant milestones in their respective histories away from the race track. This includes in 1999 when Olympus produced the first groundbreaking digital camera wîth more than two million pixels, the same year as McLaren-Mercedes won the Drivers' World Championship wîth Mika Hakkinen.
Olympus Optical Co (Europa) GmbH was founded in 1963, the same year as Bruce McLaren founded Bruce McLaren Motor Racing.
When Olympus launched the famous OM-1 in 1972, it became the world-leading pioneer in the development of compact SLR cameras. SLR is a moniker synonymous wîth McLaren and Mercedes-Benz who are currently producing the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.
The Olympus television advertisement in the 1970s created the famous catchphrase 'Who do you think you are, David Bailey?'. Lewis Hamilton was photographed by David Bailey for the March issue of British GQ.
Olympus is a leading manufacturer of professional opto-digital products and pioneers key technologies in the fields of imaging and voice products, endoscopy, microscopy, bioanalytics and diagnostics.Source - Vodafone
Ron Dennis passes Team Principal role to Martin Whitmarsh
This morning, at the launch of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24, Ron Dennis (McLaren Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal) announced that he would pass the role of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal to Martin Whitmarsh (Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Group) on March 1st.
Martin will therefore lead the team at grands prix from this season onwards.
Ron Dennis said: 'Let me make one thing clear: this is very definitely not retirement. In fact, I intend to work even harder from now on. And it's because I intend to work even harder - on growing the McLaren Group, which encompasses McLaren Automotive, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren Marketing, McLaren Inc and Absolute Taste, as well as McLaren Racing of course - that I've decided to pass the role of Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to Martin.
'In any case, this announcement won't change a great deal because, in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer of McLaren Group, Martin and I already jointly take all the major decisions that affect this company. What today's decision means is that Martin will now become solely responsible for the performance of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and will be entrusted to ensure the team remains a competitive force in Formula 1 motor racing.
'As for myself, I will continue to expand and develop my role as McLaren Group Chairman and still intend to go to some, but not all, Grands Prix because I remain a diehard enthusiast. Motor racing is in my blood - and nothing will dilute my passion for either the sport or the success of this company.'
Martin Whitmarsh said: 'Ron and I have had many discussions about this over the past few weeks and months, but eventually it became clear that Ron's decision was final. Everyone knows what an incredible career Ron has had to date; his legacy is huge. As such, I remain hugely mindful of the responsibilities I assume as team principal - it's a daunting yet exciting prospect. Despite today's announcement, I hope we will still continue to work as closely together as before.'
Norbert Haug said: 'Ron has contributed enormously to our partnership which starts its 15th season right now. On behalf of Mercedes-Benz I really want to say thank you to Ron for all his work and for all the success we've had, and hopefully will have, in the future. But it is not about saying ‘goodbye' to Ron today, because we fully support Ron's decision which he has made so that he can concentrate on the leadership of the McLaren Group. At the same time, this announcement is great news for Martin - and certainly a very well-deserved promotion. Ron, Martin and I have been working together for 15 years in a very trustful and co-operative manner. This will not change in the future.'Source - Vodafone
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