2011 Launches: Part 2

We’ve had the majority of the launches now (part 1 is here), but there are a few stragglers to round up as we head ever closer to the second test in Jerez. Even without bias, it would be hard to ignore the hype surrounding the highly anticipated launch of McLaren’s 2011 effort. The MP4-26 interest would have been around the same levels of the Red Bull and Ferrari cars, but with the later reveal questions were being raised about why they didn’t follow suit in Valencia. Was it a timing issue, design problems or a clever strategy? We’ve also have Virgin Racing, Force India and Hispania’s to look at.

McLaren: MP4-26

Photo credit: McLaren

Like the rest of the top teams this year, McLaren is also running the KERS system and has valuable experience that will now doubt get them off the line quicker compared to rivals Red Bull, who have yet to use it. They also have the adjustable wing in tow and the livery is still the familiar red and silver. However, if you haven’t already noticed, the sidepods are an unusual ‘L’ shape, McLaren explained this is in order to channel the air intake more efficiently.

Virgin Racing: MVR-02

Photo credit: Marussia Virgin Racing

Choosing to launch their new car at the BBC has turned out to be a hugely successful decision, as well as involving a number of fans, Virgin Racing’s marketing department must be secretly smug with the operation. Just like last year, this car has also been designed without ever going near a wind tunnel, proving that teams with smaller budgets can create cars using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), which hints at the possible future of F1. With budgets firmly at the forefront of the design team’s mind, the car has not been built with KERS in mind and it looks unlikely that they will ever use it. It will get it’s first run in Jerez, however some internal elements have had an outing in Valencia.

Force India: VJM-04

Photo credit: Force India

An online launch made the event instantly accessible to everyone who was interested, further proof that teams are actively reaching out to fans, who before would have had to wait for the media to publish images. Wishing to continue their strong form from last year, they’ve sourced a new technical director, Andrew Green of Jordan fame. “Everything is different, but visually a lot of it is subtle,” Green said. “There are a lot of differences under the skin.” With double diffusers and F-Ducts out, the focus for the team has been to recover lost aerodynamics, and Force India believe they’ve done a good job.

Hispania: F111

Photo credit: Hispania Racing

Following the lead of Virgin and Force India, Hispania have taken a less conventional route in revealing their newest creation. If you are one of their followers on Twitter you would have had a nice surprise in your timeline this morning, a crafty tweet sets fans alight as we caught a glimpse of a huge dose of their sense of humour. With lines such as ‘cool spot’ and ‘this could be you’ cheekily plastered across the car, it was hard for some not to make a comment about their desire for a pay driver this year. Their livery has been enhanced by their Hollywood artist, it’s a definite improvement on last year, and this departure from traditional efforts will make them stand out on track.

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