Still top of their game, McLaren hope their latest creation will give them the vital advantage for the new season in Bahrain, which begins on 13 March… And Mclaren wouldn’t be Mclaren if they didn’t come up with captivating aerodynamic design innovations.

As never before seen in the world of F1, Mclaren have come up with sidepods that are double the height on the outside of the car than it is where the intake meets the cockpit beside the driver.

McLaren have had to work hard to make up any performance lost following the ban on the double diffuser. The U-shaped sidepods is their latest effort to achieve more good-quality airflow through the rear wing and floor and increase aerodynamic downforce. The second air intake will serve to cool the gearbox and hydraulics, with the car having been cleverly compacted as much as possible in order to optimise aerodynamic performance.

Mclaren MP4-12CMclaren MP4-12C

There is also an unusual engine cover design, featuring two air inlets, the front wing features a series of very dramatic shapes, and overall, the bodywork has been beautifully and meticulously sculpted.

Engineers also faced a big challenge in the tyre department. Mclaren’s swap from tyre suppliers Bridgestone to Pirelli has meant that the team have had to work on configuration of setup and suspension in order make their new Pirellis last longer than the current ten laps.

Tim Goss, Mclaren’s director of engineering, however, indicated that he was confident the team had done everything they could to enhance the new car’s performance and winning potential:

"We set ourselves a very ambitious aerodynamic target for 2011. We always want to do more and we're always very critical about performance, but we feel we've done a good job.

"We've identified some areas where we can add performance to the car - over the next weeks, the task will be to get them on to the car and reliable by the first race. That's the big challenge."

Mclaren MP4-12CMclaren MP4-12C

Mclaren’s latest road car, the MP4-12C, is also out this spring, and will set lucky customers back a cool £168,500.

Antony Sheriff, the managing director of McLaren Automotive, said:

"To deliver a true McLaren sports car and, frankly, a reason to exist amongst great competition, it was clear we needed a unique concept that offered tangible advantages.

"With a unique carbon chassis as the foundation, and a powerful but highly efficient engine, the 12C offers staggering value: no other carbon-based car can compete at this price, or with the 12C's technology and performance.

"Add to that a focus on ensuring that our customers will be offered spectacular care by a focused, financially strong global dealer network, and I believe we have launched a new type of car company, not just a new car. Announcing such competitive prices is a major step for us and another milestone achieved."

If you’re thinking of buying one of these beauties, you’d better be able to afford to run it, in which case, car insurance might be a good place to start comparing prices for the best deal…

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