McLaren reluctant to predict when wins will come

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:50am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - McLaren unveiled their new Formula One car on Sunday, certain it cannot be any worse than last year's but still unsure when they might get back to winning ways after their longest drought in decades.

The former champions have not won a race since 2012 and finished last season, the first of a new partnership with Honda, ninth of the 10 teams with just 27 points compared to 703 for dominant Mercedes.

The three years without a win is the team's longest barren stretch since their absence from the top step of the podium in 1994-96.

"As we embark on the second year of our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership, all of us remain united in our purpose. That purpose is to develop our team toward our shared ambition: to win," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

"We'll make no predictions as to when those wins will come," he added.

The new MP4-31 car was presented online in a predominantly black livery with some prominent new sponsors in LVMH's sparkling wine brand Chandon and watchmaker Richard Mille replacing the departed Tag Heuer.

The short-nosed car, described by the team as innovative, will make a first track appearance with Jenson Button at the wheel when testing starts at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on Monday.

Last year was fraught with problems for McLaren, with the Honda engine lacking power and suffering from chronic unreliability.   Continued...

Chairman and CEO of McLaren Formula One team Ron Dennis signs autographs at the first practice session of the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 14, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone