As excitement mounts towards the start of the first 2016 test in Barcelona, McLaren have this morning revealed their 2016 contender, the MP4-31, with some outstanding digital imagery that culminates a week of build up looking at the tech and individual inputs that go into making the car.

The MP4-31 livery is an evolution of the mean, dark look we saw for the second half of the 2015 season, maintaining the vibrant red McLaren “speedmarks”, and integrating with new Honda RA616H power unit whilst maintaining the “size-zero” compactness.

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Front Three Quarter

2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Side2016 McLaren Honda MP4-31 Overhead

Some new sponsorship comes to the table in the form of luxury watch brand Richard Mille, and we see both the car and drivers race suits adorned with Chandon, as well as the continuing associations McLaren has with existing sponsors including Kenwood and KPMG amongst many others. A notable partnership with ExxonMobil enters its 22nd year. Already talk on twitter has seen mention made of the lack of sidepod sponsor on these launch images, but this space was previously rotated on a race-by-race basis, so we can assume this will be the case again going forward.

Fernando Alonso & Jenson Button Portrait 2

Quotes from both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso talk of excitement, anticipation and positivity for the season ahead, and make mention of the hard work that has taken place over winter developing the car, both in Woking at the McLaren Technology Centre, and in Sakura at Honda. There are no boastful claims of how much progress might be made this year, and Eric Boullier states that the first four days of testing will be approached “carefully and methodically” with verification of the work over winter taking place before any miracles can be expected on track, “essentially, to ensure we walk before we can run”.

However, the ultimate goal is still very much on the radar, as Ron Dennis states in his unique style:

“As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team towards our shared ambition: to win.

“We’ll make no predictions as to when those wins will come, but I can say without fear of contradiction that every member of our team has worked with truly relentless dedication over the past few months. The result is that MP4-31’s developmental trajectory has been usefully steepened over the winter, and I’m consequently very proud of our team’s efforts.

“We have the best driver line-up in the sport. We have an engineering team that has been meticulously hand-picked, restructured, guided and inspired; the blend of technical skill-sets and attitudinal mind-sets we now possess are fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art”.

Watch this space…