McLaren unveil orange MCL32 as team hope for improvement in 2017
New McLaren hailed as "fast and beautiful"; Team boss Eric Boullier hopeful McLaren are "about to turn the corner"
Last Updated: 26/02/17 6:01pm
McLaren have unveiled the orange-coloured MCL32 in a major new look as the team plot a return to the front of the grid.
The striking new livery - which also contains elements of their historic white and last year's black - comes as the Woking team hope for a dramatic improvement in fortunes and is a return to orange after 46 years.
£20 Month Pass Offer
New customers: Grab a Sky Sports Month Pass for £20 pm for the first 2 months. No contract.
"The car seems spectacular," enthused Fernando Alonso.
New team boss Zak Brown, who signed off the new livery, described the car as "fast and beautiful".
But while focus around the MCL32 will inevitably be trained on the car's livery, it will ultimately be remembered - and judged - on its on-track performance as the fallen superpowers strive to return to winning ways.
"It's the engineering detail on the MCL32 that really impresses me," said team boss Eric Boullier. "The chassis is incredibly well realised, the power unit has been significantly developed and, in Fernando and Stoffel [Vandoorne], we have a hugely exciting driver pairing that's already blending really well.
"There's a feeling around the factory that we're about to turn the corner."
McLaren showed signs of progress in 2016, their second season of a renewed partnership with engine suppliers Honda, but need much more if they are to jump from sixth in the constructors' standings to podium contenders.
Their best result last season was fifth and F1's eight-time champions' last victory came in 2012, but Alonso, preparing for his third campaign back at McLaren, still insists he will be aiming for wins this year.
The double world champion is joined by highly-rated Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, who replaces Jenson Button as the Briton moves back to the team's reserve driver.
Who's who at McLaren in 2017?
|Race driver||Fernando Alonso|
|Race driver||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|Test driver||Jenson Button|
|Racing director||Eric Boullier|
|Technical director||Tim Goss|
|Team manager||David Redding|
|Operations director||Simon Roberts|
|Chief engineer||Peter Prodromou|
|Executive director||Zak Brown|
Alonso, who last won a race in 2013 and the world title 11 years ago, is out of contract at the end of the season and has said he will decide in September whether to sign a new deal.
Asked what the team needed to do in 2017 to keep Alonso, Brown told Sky Sports News HQ: "We need to show that we are going faster, we have a chance of winning and a world championship is not far away. Fernando Alonso is loving it here and we love Fernando, so hopefully [he stays]."
It has been an off-season of change for McLaren, with the team still coming to terms with Ron Dennis' departure at the end of 2016. Executive director Brown has been quick to utilise his marketing background with major sponsors already confirmed, while McLaren have a new fuel partner in BP-Castrol.
By far the most aesthetically-pleasing change, however, is the team's switch to orange. Despite fleeting appearances in pre-season testing, the team haven't started a season in founder Bruce McLaren's favourite colour since 1971.
2017 car launches
February 17: Williams FW40
February 20: Sauber C36
February 21: Renault RS17
February 22: Force India VJM10
February 23: Mercedes W08
February 24: Ferrari SF70-H
February 24: McLaren MCL32
February 26: Red Bull RB13
February 26: Haas VF17
February 26: Toro Rosso STR12
The first F1 pre-season test starts on Monday February 27 and the Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk on all four days while Sky Sports News HQ will also deliver live updates from trackside.