McLaren unveiled its 2014 Formula One World Championship challenger, the MP4-29, at its Woking headquarters as a wind of change swept through the sport. And with 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion Kevin Magnussen replacing Sergio Perez as Jenson Button’s teammate, there was more than just a new car for the British team to get used to.
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The biggest change in Formula One for decades, the replacement of normally-aspirated engines—a staple in the series for a quarter of a century—with 1.6-liter V6 turbocharged units, meant the MP4-29 would be McLaren’s first turbo-powered F1 car since the peerless MP4/4 in 1988. The team’s new Mercedes PU106A Hybrid engine would have a lot to live up to.
Having parted company with its long-time main sponsor, McLaren sent their new car into action bedecked in a new, predominantly silver, livery—and it began the season promisingly. Also distinguishable from its predecessors thanks to its stooping nose—one of a number of design alterations required by the summer’s far-reaching rule revisions—it notched impressive second and third places at the Australian Grand Prix.