In a unique event attended by hundreds of fans, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes this morning brought together members of the public to construct and reveal its new MP4-26 chassis, the team’s challenger for the 2011 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Revealed at Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz, the famous public space that sits on the fringe of the old Berlin Wall, the car was built up by dozens of Vodafone competition-winners, fans and customers carrying components into the arena, where the new chassis was gradually pieced together in front of a huge crowd.
This culminated in our race drivers – 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton and 2009 world champion Jenson Button – assembling the very final pieces to reveal the completed racecar.
Looking radically different from last year’s race-winning chassis, MP4-26 features a range of aerodynamic features designed to take advantage of new rules significantly limiting the amount of downforce that can be derived from the car’s underbody.
These most notably include distinctive U-shaped sidepods – to feed air more efficiently to the car’s rear-end – and an electronically adjustable rear-wing system, introduced for 2011 to increase the potential for overtaking.
Beneath the skin, the car houses an all-new electric hybrid system. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, along with our engine partners Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, became the first-ever Formula 1 team to win a grand prix using a hybrid device in 2009, and this new system is expected to further refine that race-winning package.
The team continues for 2011 with the proven driver pairing of world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Between them, they helped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to five grands prix victories, three one-two results and second overall in the 2010 constructors’ championship.