McLaren have unveiled their new car with the ambition of continuing the progress they showed last year.
In 2019, they were the fastest team behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull and finished fourth, two places better than in 2018.
Team boss Andreas Seidl said: “It is important to keep the positive momentum up and move forward as a team.
“It is a reset. I am very happy with development. We can be quite optimistic but we have to be realistic as well.”
The new MCL35 retains McLaren’s historic papaya orange colour scheme, re-adopted in 2017, but has switched it for a matt finish, following a trend set by Red Bull and Ferrari.
An evolution of last year’s design, the car has a noticeably narrow nose and pinched rear end in the pursuit of maximum possible aerodynamic downforce.
McLaren continue with their youthful driver line-up of Spaniard Carlos Sainz and Briton Lando Norris, both of whom impressed greatly in 2019.
Sainz, who in Brazil last November scored McLaren’s first podium for five years, said: “We have managed to put together a better car. I have the feeling everything is coming together a lot better. We have a positive momentum and we want to carry that forward.”
Norris, who was an impressive debutant in 2019, said: “It is a base. It was made last year. All our comments and discussions as been put into this. It is a lot more of my car. We have had the input of making this, so it feels a bit more my baby.
“I was pooping myself a lot last year, especially at this point, whereas now I am lot more confident and more relaxed and that just prepares me better for the season.”
No Monaco move for Norris
Norris said he had moved closer to the McLaren factory in Surrey, rather than take the common route of F1 drivers settled in the sport of moving to Monaco to save tax.
“I’m firmly set in the UK,” he said. “I have changed place, even closer to McLaren. I timed it the other day – it took me three minutes 20 seconds to get from here to my new place. That’s driving within the speed limit.”
He had previously lived in Guildford, a 25-minute drive from the factory.
Norris said: “I like going to London. I can be with my friends and have a lot of fun. If I move to Monaco, I’m not going to enjoy things at all.
“My enjoyment takes over everything else at the moment and is more crucial for how I want to be and how I want to live life.”
Norris developed a large following on social media in his debut year for his light-hearted approach, but he said he was going to tone that down this year after some misinterpreted it to mean he was not serious about his job.
“I’ll still be who I am, I’ll still do everything I do and have fun and still make jokes,” he said.
“But there are times where sometimes maybe I need to, not shift my focus because I still worked hard… but in the outside world, things can get portrayed quite differently from what I know and see from doing myself.
“A lot of people see me make jokes and whatever. And therefore they turn and put a lot of blame for mistakes I do on me having fun – and them seeing me look like I’m not focused compared to other drivers.”
Sainz eyeing new contract
Seidl said he was happy with both drivers and he saw “no reason” to change them in the future.
While Norris is on a long-term deal with McLaren, Sainz