McLaren has pulled the wraps from its new MP4-28 F1 race car, revealed this week at the company's headquarters in Woking, England.
While the car may not look greatly different from its predecessor, McLaren promises the 28 is packing plenty of new tricks to increase reliability and better its top speed.
With a third-place finish in last year's Constructor's Championship, fourth-place for ex-pilot Lewis Hamilton and fifth for Jenson Button, the team is looking to improve both facets of its operation.
For the final time, McLaren's racer is powered by a naturally-aspirated Mercedes-Benz 2.4 litre V8 engine, mated to a Kinetic Energy Recovery System.
The V8 will be replaced by direct-injected and turbocharged 1.6 litre V6 engines in 2014, both in the McLaren and in every other car on the track. More powerful KERS systems will also feature.
Piloting McLaren's 2013 cars will be former world champion Jenson Button, joined by former Sauber driver Segio Perez, who has yet to win a race at the top level.
McLaren admits Lowe's future uncertain
A notable absentee at the launch of McLaren's 2013 car on Thursday was technical director Paddy Lowe.
Ross Brawn confirmed recently that Lowe, initially in talks with Williams, had discussed a possible future move to Mercedes.
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters at Woking, where the wraps were taken off the evolutionary MP4-28, that 50-year-old Briton Lowe is staying put for 2013.
"The future is less certain," he admitted.
As for why Lowe is sitting out the launch, Whitmarsh said the technical director made the decision himself, to save the team the "embarrassment" of facing up to the recent controversy on the eve of McLaren's fiftieth anniversary.
Lowe "doesn't want to be a distraction," Whitmarsh said. "At his own election he felt it was inappropriate to be here.
"He'll be part of the team for the rest of this year," he added.
McLaren has followed Ferrari's lead by switching to a novel 'pull-rod' layout for the MP4-28's front suspension.
Racing it in 2013 will be Jenson Button and new arrival Sergio Perez.
"The MP4-28 isn't merely a refinement of last year's seven-race winning car," McLaren said in a statement, "it's a deep and sweeping redesign of an already successful chassis in several key areas."
Kaltenborn excuses Frijns for Sauber criticism
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has hinted that new reserve driver Robin Frijns will get a Friday practice outing this season.
Earlier this week, 21-year-old reigning Formula Renault 3.5 champion and Dutchman Frijns complained that he will "not have much to do" in 2013.
He had told Dutch magazine Formule1 that he is not required by his new Swiss employer for the forthcoming winter test period, and it "looks unlikely I will be used during the Friday practice sessions".
"And Sauber has no simulator so I can't gain experience in that way," added Frijns.
Kaltenborn reacted to Frijn's comments by excusing his implied criticism.
"Robin is still young," she told the Swiss newspaper Blick, "so we should not place his every word on golden scales.
"He said what he said, but he is also irritated because he has not yet found a place in GP2 for this season.
"The development (programmes) for the young drivers is a real problem," Kaltenborn continued.
"The best thing for each team would be to give every reserve driver at least one go on a Friday (practice session)."
Sutil 'still believes' in 2013 F1 return - manager
Mere days before the pre-season test period begins, Adrian Sutil is still refusing to give up on his formula one comeback for 2013.
Once considered the hot favourite to return with his former team Force India this year, the long delay has caused some commentators to assume that German Sutil, 30, is now less likely to race.
But Sutil's manager Manfred Zimmermann insisted: "Basically, we still believe in the 2013 comeback."
He also admitted to DPA news agency, however, that he is "not sure" if Sutil will have a cockpit to occupy for the forthcoming opening 2013 test at Jerez.
"At the moment we are waiting for the final decision, and of course we would prefer it sooner rather than later," Zimmermann said.
As for whether Timo Glock's shock departure at Marussia had contributed to the delay, Sutil's manager said the events are "unrelated", whilst acknowledging that the pay-driver situation was "significant for F1".
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