It's amazing how things can come out of the blue, Wednesday saw the launch of Codemasters F1 while today in appropriate mood I'm visiting Mclaren for the launch of their new high speed production sports car. Arriving on a beautiful spring morning, what better time would there be to see this fantastic facility, the Mclaren Technology Center really is a sight to behold. This visit giving unprecedented access behind the scenes, allowing photography in restricted areas barely ever seen in the outside world. So with that in mind I took my time taking in as much information as possible. The look, the feel, it has Ron Dennis all over it, the clinical yet precise look; it's a love hate relationship that has yielded unquestionable results.
A brief browse around the MP4 production area before finding our seats for the main presentation, you'll see a selection of videos covering this and we'll receive some direct videos from Mclaren in due course.
The presentation focused on the company, its heritage, its aspiration and an inevitable feeling of success, Mclaren only know how to succeed and their stats prove it, with a podium place in 53% of all grand prix since 1966. The MP4-12C is more than just another sports car, its design and execution making it one of the most advanced production models ever to hit the market. From safety to technology and after market service, this isn't a toe in the water, it’s a new beginning for car company that's used to breaking ground.
Building a new car company creating jobs and additional income will see the future of the Formula 1 team secured, but this project is more than just production models, with Mercedes due to leave Mclaren in 2015 the race is on to secure a new engine, but why buy one when you can build your own, the ultimate in in-house technology and the final piece to Mclaren being totally self reliant.
Its a model some of their rivals have used for many years but for Ron this appears all part of his eternal vision, building a stable race winning team, construction of the Technology Center, creation of the Automotive Company and its technology offspring. A truly great vision, but its not until you visit the center itself do you really appreciate how monumental this project has become.
With speeches from Mark Norris, Antony Sheriff and Martin Whitmarsh with Ron Dennis, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button taking to the stage for the final car reveal. This forming a softer part of the proceedings, revealing the jovial side to the drivers, the relaxed center to what would ordinarily appear to be a harder outer core. A company that works hard and plays hard, but with the flexibility within its vision to constantly learn and evolve from its experience.
Surrounded by an era of Formula 1 cars spanning great drivers, such as Hunt, Lauda, Senna, Prost, Hakkinen, Hamilton, there's that feel of perfection and exclusivity. I think of the many F1 drivers who have passed through these doors, browsed those trophy cabinets and delved into the lower echelons of this sprawling complex. Savoring every minute while appreciating what has been and what is to come.
For Mclaren Automotive this is just the beginning, and for me it has been a wonderful privilege, we’ll have more on this to follow in the coming days.