It seems strange that I would be writing this article with an underwhelming sense of satisfaction. I was expecting more from Mclaren for their 50th anniversary car. I suppose though, that is asking a lot from a team whose very structure is based on a ruthless sense of efficiency and a sometimes great sense of seriousness.
While I am not bashing the MP4-28, the car Mclaren hopes to take to its first Drivers’ and Constictors’ Championship since 2008 and 1998, respectively, I’m not thrilled with the lack of similarity to last year’s car. The livery could have done with some updating, perhaps adding an embellishment of color like Lotus did with their 2013 car.
The MP4-28 is still gorgeous, however. The Mclarens are usually the aesthetic class of the field. This is only a real benefit when it is the performance class of the field, though.
There are three notable alterations to the MP4-28 from last year’s challenger. First the side pods have taken on a triangle shape again. Mclaren opted to use oval shaped side pods last year to make the airflow going over them as smooth as possible. This year, though, they have taken on the look of the sidepods of the 2012 Sauber, with a little indentation on the bottom of the sidepod.
The second notable difference is the presence of pull-rod front suspension. Ferrari surprised many in 2012 by running the same type of suspension on the front of their car. Nowadays, though, many are predicting this to soon become the norm.
Finally, the last thing I noticed was the bottom of the rear wing. It may just be the early morning causing me to see things, but I noticed that part of the wind is now gone from the bottom of the wing. I’m not technically versed so I don’t know if this was an aesthetic choice or whether this could be the big new performance secret of 2013, but be sure to watch out.
With many saying that Mclaren will have the weakest lineup of any of the top teams in 2013, the Woking squad will really need the MP4-28 to deliver. If Mclaren can start the year with the fastest car, I believe they will be able to keep that performance. Their staggering ability to develop a car over the course of a season will need to be on overdrove if it isn’t the fastest. The mechanical woes of 2012 will need to be ironed out as well, because as that very year has shown, reliability can determine the course of the championship.