|Power Unit||Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid|
“I remember the first time we raced at Singapore [in 2008]; it seemed incredible to think that we could hold a Formula 1 race at night. I must say, the thrill and novelty of racing through spot-lit streets is just as intense for me today as it was when we first raced there – it’s a unique spectacle, and one that I think is brilliant for F1. In fact, the Singapore Grand Prix is one of the wonders of modern sport. This is one of the races I’d most love to win.”
Jenson Button, McLaren Mercedes driver
The 2013 season was a tough one for the McLaren Mercedes team. While most teams relied evolutionary designs, McLaren gambled on designing a completely new car. However the gamble did not pay off and both Jenson Button and Sergio Pérez struggled for traction and pace. As a result the team ended the season a lowly fifth in the Constructors’ Championship and without a single podium finish.
There are much higher hopes for 2014. Early testing demonstrated that, in common with other Mercedes-powered teams, their powertrain has started the season with impressive pace and reliability. The team has clearly benefitted from the experience and testing capability of 2009 champion Jenson Button and he is joined by the 21 year-old Dane, Kevin Magnussen, who has been elevated to a Formula OneTM racing debut with the team after impressing McLaren engineers last year with his grasp of the new technologies.
Many see 2014 as a “holding year” for McLaren, ahead of the return of Honda as their power unit supplier in 2015. However history records that McLaren will take every opportunity to race and win.
The team was founded by New Zealand driver Bruce McLaren in 1966 and won their first drivers and constructors’ world championships with Emerson Fittipaldi in 1974. In 1976 James Hunt gave the team their second title with the Drivers’ World Championship crown, but the team emerged as true Formula One aristocrats in the eighties under the management team headed by Ron Dennis. Since that time Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Mika Hakkinen and Lewis Hamilton have all claimed further titles for McLaren.
McLaren's relationship with Mercedes began in 1995 and grew to such an extent that the German car maker was at one stage a leading shareholder in the company, which also built the SLR supercar for Mercedes. Over the past decade however this involvement has progressively reduced.
McLaren road-going super cars are now manufactured in their entirety in a purpose-built factory next to the gleaming McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey and this year will mark the end of the trackside collaboration between Mercedes and McLaren too.