Tony O'Kane | Jan 21, 2009

McLaren has taken the wraps off its new-for-2009 F1 challenger at its UK headquarters in Woking. At the same time, it has revealed that the car will be driven by - surprise, surprise - reigning champ Lewis Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen for this year's season.

Despite sharing a similar alphanumeric code, the MP4-24 bears little resemblence to last year's MP4-23. Rule changes and the addition of new technology have forced McLaren to completely revise the car's aerodynamic aids, transforming the shape of the car in the process.

2009 McLaren Mercedes MP4-24

The addition of the new Kinetic Energy Regeneration System (KERS) is another major change for the McLaren, and this year's debut of the power-boosting and energy-saving tech should make the 2009 F1 season just a tad more exciting that last year's. (We're hoping, at least.)

Pre-season shakedown has commenced over at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal, with Hamilton and Kovalainen putting the MP4-24 through the wringer.

Will the new technology and parity-promoting aero changes liven up Formula One? We'll find out on March 29, when the season kicks off at Albert Park in sunny Melbourne. Stay tuned.

2009 McLaren Mercedes MP4-24

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