McLaren will show off their 2014 Formula One car, the MP4-29, in an online-only digital launch on Jan. 24, the team said on Tuesday. The decision follows a recent trend in the sport of virtual launches, partly to cut costs but also to minimise disruption at a time when all the factory is working flat out to be ready for the new season.
This year sees major rule changes, with a new V6 turbocharged engine and energy recovery systems replacing the old V8, and teams have considerable technical challenges to overcome. The first of three pre-season tests will start in Jerez, southern Spain, on Jan. 28 with the first race in Australia on March 16. McLaren marked the 50th anniversary of their founding by New Zealander Bruce McLaren last year but had little else to celebrate. The Woking-based team went through the entire championship without a single podium finish, their worst performance since 1980.
Since then, Mexican Sergio Perez has left and been replaced alongside 2009 world champion Jenson Button by 21-year-old Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen. McLaren are also due to announce a new title sponsor in place of mobile phone company Vodafone.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)