McLaren has unveiled its 2012 Formula 1 car, the MP4-27, at the team’s Woking base. With two British world champs in Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, McLaren finished last season with six victories and second in the standings, behind champions Red Bull. The MP4-27’s brief is therefore simple – beat the bulls.

The 2012 car looks a lot like last year’s machine, but McLaren says that the MP4-27 chassis has been substantially revised, with all major systems updated or redesigned. No more U-shaped sidepods too, to comply with new regulations.

“We have set ourselves tough and ambitious targets, and we aim to deliver those by the first race and have a championship-winning car. This car is a complete rework from nose to tail, and there is very little that is carried over. A bit of the fuel system is the same, but almost everything else on the car has changed,” said Tim Goss, McLaren’s director of engineering.

“There were a few features we have pushed quite hard from the beginning of the project. I am proud of the whole team and the efforts so far, and from now we go to the next phase of the project which is really wringing the performance out of it. We have a good track record of that – we have big plans, upgrades for the front wing, rear wing, floor and bodywork are already planned,” Goss added.

Elaborating further, technical director Paddy Lowe said: “The regulations are trimming us into narrower and narrower boxes. We don’t see big radical changes from one year to the next year. This car looks very similar but underneath a great deal of changes have taken place.

“Every part has been assessed for weight and performance. If you add all that up, you get a car that is quicker. Teams are tasked to find that 1% to 2% performance improvement – but nevertheless there are obvious innovations.

“We have done a lot of work around the back end, and there is a lot more tidy packaging there, and we have had to do a lot of work on exhausts. That has given the aerodynamicists a great challenge, not only to find the downforce but also in creating the right balance. You need downforce but also you have to be able to use it in the right area.”

Are we looking at the machine to break Red Bull and Seb Vettel’s total domination?