5 Bold Predictions for McLaren-Honda's 2015 Formula 1 Car Launch

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2015

5 Bold Predictions for McLaren-Honda's 2015 Formula 1 Car Launch

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    Handout/Getty Images

    McLaren will unveil their 2015 car on Thursday, 29 Jan., three days before the start of winter testing. We've seen a computer-generated Williams and Force India's new colour scheme, but the MP4-30 will be the first of this year's challengers to be properly unveiled to the public.

    Flashy car launches are a thing of the pastMcLaren will again opt for a low-key, online reveal.

    But though there'll be no flashbulbs popping or confetti raining down from the ceiling, we can expect a plethora of videos, pictures and optimistic statements.

    We'll also get to see Fernando Alonso in McLaren colours for the first time since his undignified exit in 2007.

    Here are five predictions on what to expect.

The Car Will Be White

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    HASAN JAMALI/Associated Press

    McLaren have sported various shades of silver since they began a partnership with West tobacco in 1997. The sponsor departed long ago, but the colour remained.

    The cars were occasionally referred to as Silver Arrowsa name associated with Mercedes-Benz since the 1930s. While Mercedes were the team's engine supplier the link was not a problem, but now that Honda have come on board it might be.

    The Japanese manufacturer's cars have usually been white in the past, and the last McLaren-Honda (in 1993) had a lot of white paint, too.

    The red on that car was due to then-sponsor Marlboro, now with Ferrari, so the new livery probably won't contain copious lashing of rouge.

    But white with a splash of McLaren orangelike this 650S Sprint unveiled on the team's website last yearwould look very nice indeed.

    Maybe it was a hint?

More Awkward 'Buddy' Poses

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    Handout/Getty Images

    Ron Dennis and Fernando Alonso have a somewhat difficult history.

    They fell out in 2007 as the Spaniard sought No. 1 status ahead of team-mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton. It was refused and, in the wake of the controversy at that year's Hungarian Grand Prix, Alonso allegedly, per The Independent's David Tremayne, attempted to blackmail Dennis.

    The fallout led to Alonso leaving the team. More importantly, it also resulted in the exposure of the scandal known as Spygate. Per Sky SportsMike Wise, McLaren were thrown out of a constructors' championship they would have won and hit with a massive $100 million fine.

    But Alonso is a great driver and McLaren are a great team. In 2013, Dennis told BBC Sport's Andrew Benson the Spaniard could return one day, saying: "One has to recognise the first objective of any grand prix team is to win races.

    "Whatever obstacles sit between a team wanting to win and winning, be it engineering, fiscal or human issues, you resolve them. You never say never."

    So it proved.

    At the big reveal of McLaren's 2015 driver lineup in December last year, the unlikely duo struck a series of slightly awkward poses together to show the world all was forgiven and they were now best buddies.

    Expect a couple more on Wednesday.

The Nose Will Be More Attractive Than the Williams

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    Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    Williams revealed computer images of their 2015 car on Jan. 21 and one thing stood out above all elsethe nose. Somehow, it's even worse than the team's 2014 solution.

    Autosport tweeted one of the less-flattering views:

    #F1 tech insight: @WilliamsRacing FW37 launch video and @ScarbsF1 analysis: http://t.co/h8SPHyWzKR pic.twitter.com/1fjJIU8uT7

    — AUTOSPORT (@autosport) January 21, 2015

    Back in 2012, the FIA's half-hearted meddling in the technical regulations began the weird nose era. The Ferrari F2012 led the ugly train with the majority of their rival teams close behind. But McLaren took a different approach, avoided the unsightly step and ended up with a beautiful car.

    The team would never sacrifice speed for looks, and their 2014 nose was just as foul as everyone else's.

    But maybe that was a one-off. McLarens are usually attractive and I have a feeling they'll come up with a more aesthetically pleasing front end than most of the other teams.

The Car Will Have a Slightly Bullish Appearance

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    Andrew Hone/Getty Images

    McLaren rolled out a new front wing in practice for the final race of the 2014 season, and it looked a little bit familiar. Formula1.com noted the similarity between it and the Red Bull design.

    That was no coincidence. McLaren poached highly rated designer Peter Prodromou from Red Bull in 2013. After a period of gardening leave, he arrived in September and started in his new role as chief engineer at Woking.

    The wing was the first fruit of his labour.

    Looks like McLaren have gone for a RBR style front wing, Note the ridges fairing off to the trailing edge. #TechF1 pic.twitter.com/vGqqsAMMxG

    — Stefan Ruitenberg (@RaceTechSR) November 20, 2014

    Red Bull have led the way in recent years so far as aerodynamics are concerned. Adrian Newey is given most of the credit, but Prodromou was a key part of his team. Aero evolves, but Prodromou is an excellent designer in his own right. He can advance already great ideas as well as anyone.

    Newey told Sky Sports' Pete Gill in early January that he expected Sebastian Vettel to "bring things to Ferrari that we rather he didn't."

    Perhaps he should be more concerned about what Prodromou will take to McLaren. Expect several similarities when the MP4-30 and RB11 are unveiled.

Fernando Alonso Will Say Goodbye to a Dear Friend

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Fernando Alonso has been sporting an impressive quantity of facial hair for some time now. He showed off a full beard at his official unveiling as a McLaren driver in December, and just over a week before the Jan. 29 launch date he posted a tweet revealing it's still there:

    Buenos días!! Good morning!! #McLarenHonda #ready pic.twitter.com/YfZLqPLwRn

    — Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) January 21, 2015

    When Ron Dennis was in charge McLaren had a reputation for being super-professional, very corporate and highly polished. He took a back seat in 2009 and things got a little more relaxed, but Dennis is now back in control.

    Alonso is hugely important to the team and one would expect he'd be permitted to do his own thing so far as his appearance is concerned.

    But maybe Ron will insist he be clean-shaven for just one day of the year...