VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES TEAM UNVEILED IN VALENCIA
Monday 15th January 2007, Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias, Valencia, Spain:
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes race drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton drove through the streets of Valencia in Formula 1 cars to mark the start of an exciting new era for the team.
Fernando and Lewis, who form one of the youngest driver line-ups in the history of the sport, unveiled the new car – the MP4-22 - to a crowd of more than 150, 000 on a bespoke circuit around the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias.
Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett joined Fernando and Lewis to complete the driver line-up. Pedro and Gary, who are starting their fifth and second years with the team respectively, will continue to support the ongoing technical development of the MP4-22 package during the course of the year alongside Fernando and Lewis.
“This is a fantastic day for me - I am really proud to be introducing myself as a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver in my home country, and of course to help present my new team to the Spanish fans, ” said double World Champion Fernando. “Although this is my first public event with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, I have already spent a lot of time with the team and my fellow drivers Lewis, Pedro and Gary, at the McLaren Technology Centre. It is a great team and I am excited about this new beginning. My fans are such an inspiration and it is great to bring the team so close to them. I hope they enjoy watching Lewis and myself drive the cars in their new livery around the streets of Valencia.”
For Lewis, the launch was the realisation of a childhood ambition, “Growing up, I saw so many Formula 1 launches in the media, and to be here in Valencia
to unveil the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team really brings home to me the distance I have travelled to achieve my dream of becoming a grand prix driver, ” said Lewis. “There is still a long way for me to go, as I am at the early stages of my career and have a lot to learn, but the passion I have for the sport and this team is immense, I cannot wait to take to the grid in Australia in March. This year will be about firsts for me, starting with today and my first Formula 1 presentation and my first demonstration run. It will be great to take the cars onto the streets and I hope the fans like the new livery as much as I do!”
Ron Dennis, Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group added: “This is a very special moment as we officially unveil the team in Valencia
today. Vodafone represents only the second title sponsor change in 30 years for the team – something which we as an organization are very proud of."
"McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have enjoyed a very strong relationship for the past 12 years and we are now looking forward to a successful future as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, " continued Ron. "We all want to win but how we win has always been very important to us and this value will remain the driving force behind our new partnership. In Fernando and Lewis we have two of the most exciting and talented drivers in Formula 1. They both have great potential to inspire others to push hard to achieve their dreams."
Norbert Haug, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “With the 2007 line-up of double world champion Fernando Alonso and F1 newcomer Lewis Hamilton, we have both the youngest driver pairing on the starting grid and in the history of the team. Furthermore, when Fernando and Lewis make their debut for the team in the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne
, it will mark the tenth anniversary of the first McLaren-Mercedes F1 victory at the same circuit."