Two weeks ago in Melbourne, McLaren said the prominent ‘Mobil’ branding on the sidepods of its 2014 car was a one-off.
The British team, yet to sign a replacement for departed title sponsor Vodafone, said the branding was to celebrate the 20-year history of the Mobil sponsorship. Now in Malaysia, McLaren’s black sidepods are featuring the branding of ‘Esso’, another ExxonMobil brand. Also new for the MP4-29 at Sepang is a tweaked ‘anteater’ nose, as team supremo Ron Dennis said McLaren will not give up on winning this season. “We are not here to be second or third,” he is quoted by 20min.ch, adding that McLaren expects to have added half a second of pace to the car since Australia.
Lead driver Jenson Button said in Malaysia: “Out of the box the car was what we expected, a little bit low on downforce, but as long as we keep developing the car as we plan to we should be able to catch Mercedes.” Departed McLaren driver Sergio Perez said he is not surprised the team has bounced back after a dismal 2013 season. “The development of the 2013 car was given up very early in the season to focus on 2014,” the Mexican told F1’s official website. “That was McLaren’s target — all 2014.”