McLaren officially launch MCL36

Henry Valantine
The McLaren MCL36 from above.

A view of the McLaren MCL36 from above. February 2022.

McLaren have become the latest team to unveil their 2022 challenger, with the MCL36 having been presented to the world on Friday night.

The car was launched as part of the team’s wider launch night, that has also seen them unveil their 2022 cars in their IndyCar project with Arrow McLaren SP, their new Extreme E outfit and the McLaren Shadow Esports team.

Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo were present as the team showed off the livery of the car they hope will continue their recent upward trajectory in Formula 1, having firmly re-established themselves at the front of the midfield over the past couple of seasons.

The new regulations present a blank slate for all of the teams on the grid however, meaning their pace relative to their rivals will be a complete unknown before pre-season running gets underway in Barcelona on 23 February.

Norris and Ricciardo form an unchanged driver line-up for the team in 2022, with Norris having signed a new four-year deal in the week that will take his stay at McLaren until 2025 at least.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has already tried to play down the team’s chances of hitting the front in 2022, recently telling Gulf Business that “we need to be careful not to raise expectations to an unrealistic level,” despite having recorded a 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix last September.

But there is still optimism from within the team for the season ahead.

Speaking prior to the launch, Norris said: “It’s a new opportunity for us as drivers to show our skills, because I think the driving styles are going to have to be a little bit different, and the way of driving the cars.

“How you work with your engineers as well because it’s lot more of a development race, especially so early on with this new regulation.”

The papaya and blue colour scheme on the livery has had a slight makeover, with the addition of black as a new-look McLaren was shown off.

Upon the launch, CEO Brown said: “I’m delighted to see us launch all three McLaren Racing programmes across the Formula 1, IndyCar and Extreme E championships today. This is a first for us as a team, and in the wider world of motorsport, and it’s been fantastic to see how excited the fans have been as they get ready to join us on the next part of our journey.

“Our Formula 1 team continues to make great progress year-on-year with Andreas Seidl at the helm, and this new era of regulations represents a real opportunity for the team. I’m excited to see Lando and Daniel get behind the wheel of the MCL36 and take it to the competition this year. Lando made great progress in 2021, scoring four podiums, and Daniel’s sensational victory in Monza reminded the team what it feels like to win again. As we head into 2022, we’re looking to build on that progress and further close the gap to the teams at the front.”


After Haas and Red Bull appeared to launch only a slightly modified version of the 2022 show car, Aston Martin bucked the trend and launched the first full version of the AMR22 on Thursday – earning plaudits for their honesty in doing so, before taking to the track on Friday, becoming the first team to run a shakedown of a car in Formula 1’s new era.

McLaren technical director James Key confirmed McLaren also launched their Barcelona-spec car on Friday, although they have “hidden bits and pieces” as they look to maintain some secrecy in how their car has been built.

The first race of the season will get underway in Bahrain on Sunday 20 March, following a three-day test at the same circuit the weekend beforehand.


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