McLaren launch MP4-24

Pete Mait

On Friday McLaren launched the car it will campaign in the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship at its headquarters in Woking, England. At the launch of the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-24, Ron Dennis announced that he would pass the role of Team Principal to Martin Whitmarsh on March 1st. Whitmarsh will therefore lead the team of Lewis Hamilton at grands prix from this season onwards.

Unveiled by world champion Lewis Hamilton and his team-mate Heikki Kovalainen, the new MP4-24 bears little resemblance to its world championship-winning predecessor due to the introduction of a raft of new rules that have reshaped Formula 1 ahead of the 2009 season.

The team has already completed two MP4-24 chassis and begins publicly testing at the Autodromo do Algarve circuit in Portugal on Monday. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa will conduct the first two days before Lewis (Wednesday) and Heikki (Thursday) sample the car.