Formula 1: McLaren Makes First Changes in 12 Years Ahead of New Season

McLaren have unveiled the car they hope can fire them back among the F1 big guns, with an all-new driver line-up hoping to end one of the team’s worst ever periods.

The Woking outfit have slumped down the grid over the last ten years, following a dip in performance which has seen them go from being regular title challengers and race winners to now being without a podium in half-a-decade.

But despite seeing the exit of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso over the winter, hopes are high for an improved campaign this term with an all-new driver pairing.

British rookie Lando Norris makes his debut in the sport after impressing in F2 last season and will be the team-mate to the more experienced Carlos Sainz who joins from Renault.   

The 19-year-old will become the youngest British F1 driver in history when he makes his debut at the season-opening race in Melbourne next month.

Norris will drive the car for first time on Monday when winter testing gets under way in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“I have got a lot to live up to with the history of McLaren,” said Norris. “There is a lot on my shoulders.

“I will try to make it a positive effect and hope to have a long career in Formula One being the age that I am.

“Together if we want to get back to winning races and winning championships with McLaren it is important that Carlos and I work together.

“Seeing the whole team and how hard they have worked with the amount of hours they have put in is second to none. I am just excited to get going.”

There are slight tweaks to the car livery but the biggest change comes in the drivers’ overalls which have seen blue replace white as a predominant colour. 

Sainz gave the thumbs up to the car’s livery scheme but jokingly claimed he will reserve judgement on his new team-mate.

“I like the new colours. My teammate, I’ll see in a couple of months if I like him,” joked Sainz.

The pair, replacing Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne, are McLaren’s first all-new driver line-up in 12 years.