'Blast from past' for new McLaren
NEW BOY, NEW CAR: McLaren's new-for-2013 driver Sergio Checo Perez (right) and experienced team mate Jenson Button with a 2013 McLaren F1 car at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, southern England, on Jan 31, 2013.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
WOKING, England - McLaren has unveiled its 2013 Formula 1 car with a "blast from the past" as the team celebrated 50 years in GP racing and looked forward to returning to the top this season.
Paying tribute to the company's founder Bruce McLaren, who died in 1970, winning cars from through the decades were driven around an ornamental lake and into the futuristic factory atrium in a wall of sound before the sleek new MP4-28 was revealed.
PEREZ AIMING HIGH
Britain's Jenson Button, 2009 World champion, will be leader on the track with new Mexican team mate Sergio Perez chasing his first win after two seasons with Sauber.
Perez made it clear he was out for more than just the occasional top step of the podium, however, with a team that finished third overall in 2012.
"I want to win the championship, that's my target," declared Perez, standing alongside a smiling Button after the pair drove into the factory - the Mexican leading the more experienced Briton - in McLaren sports cars.
Button said he was rarin' to go in a car that looked very similar to the one that won seven races the previous season.
"It's exactly the same colour scheme so some people might look at this and go 'ah, it looks kind of similar to last year' but I tell you, this is completely different," said Button. "Under the skin, it is so, so different."
The launch marked the start of a new era for the Mercedes-powered team after the departure to Mercedes of 2008 World champion Lewis Hamilton who made his debut with McLaren in 2007.
Hamilton was not the only notable absentee; the team's long-serving technical director Paddy Lowe played no part in the launch after being linked to a move to Mercedes.
However McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, offering no longer-term assurance, said: "The certainty is that Paddy will be a part of the team for another year."