Mclaren have launched the car that they hope will make a double world champion of either Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button in 2011 – would you please step back and doff your caps at the MP4-26.

Launched in Berlin this morning, the Mercedes-powered racer is the successor to the F-Duct-pioneering 2010 machine that helped Button and Hamilton to two and three victories respectively last season and propelled the team to runner-up spot in the constructors standings. Hopes are high at Woking that this car can take them one step further.

The team has elected to launch the car a little later than chief rivals Red Bull and Ferrari, a decision that saw them run the old machine at this week’s Valencia test. The MP4-26 will get its first runout in six days time when testing resumes at Jerez.

Button and Hamilton represent the only pairing on the 2011 grid who can both count themselves as past F1 world champions. The British duo enjoyed a cosy first year as team-mates in 2010, but most commentators agree that the sparks are set to fly if the new car proves to be the class of the field this season. Now wouldn’t that be something?

The launch was rather unique – instead of whipping off a blanket, mechanics built the car in public, here in Berlin – here’s the process, bit by bit: