It's all change at McLaren, one of the most iconic and successful FORMULA ONE teams. Ron Dennis, Chairman and Chief Executive of McLaren for 35 years, has left the team he helped create under unhappy circumstances. McLaren has had a tough few years and hasn't won a race since 2012. Ex-racing driver turned sponsorship guru, Zak Brown, is hired to deal with the financial shortfalls that comes from a team being at the back of the grid.
This year also marks a first for Stoffel Vandoorne, one of the most successful GP2 drivers. We follow the 24-year-old rookie as he steps up to the role of full time racing driver, alongside two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso. At McLaren's state-of-the-art factory, The McLaren Technology Centre, we see the initial stages of the 2017 car-build, under a team of highly qualified and passionate designers, engineers and mechanics. We witness the optimistic new McLaren livery coming together (orange and black, replacing Dennis' trademark black and grey).
Stoffel gets down to the demanding work of learning all about how the new car will behave in McLaren's high-tech simulator. His race engineer and mentor, is Tom Stallard. Tom's job is to translate Stoffel's impressions of the car into data. This can be fed into McLaren's supercomputers so they can adapt the car to his driving style. In addition to training, the McLaren drivers must be brand ambassadors and attend PR events for the team's sponsors, such as luxury watch maker Richard Mille. As a veteran in the business, Fernando Alonso has earned the right to skip many of these events, so they fall to Stoffel. As Zak tells us,