It was announced today that the McLaren-Honda team will launch its 2016 challenger, the MP4-31, on February 21, the day before the first winter test in Barcelona.
McLaren-Honda had its worst season since 1980 with the MP4-30 last year as it struggled with Honda’s uncompetitive and unreliable power unit. It hopes to return to the front end of the pack this year with the retained Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
The timing of the launch will be the day before the first test begins at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on February 22. In recent years the team has launched at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking but the announcement does not state where the launch will be this year.
The team’s announcement on Twitter this afternoon made a tongue-in-cheek reference to Ferrari’s 2016 car launch campaign to give a small group of fans a “major role” in its online launch next month as follows:-
With most teams now being expected to unveil their cars in the days leading up to the Barcelona test, while some will opt to launch on the morning of February 22 itself. The first test runs until February 26, while there is a second test the following week between March 1-4. The 21-race 2016 season kicks off in Melbourne on March 20.