Vodafone Asked McLaren to Launch MP4-26 in Berlin
And that was the second reason for controversy, as McLaren confirmed the MP4-26 will be seen by the media at the Kaisersaal venue, in the German capital. Although they will provide free transportation and accommodation for the members of the media coming from the UK, the question still remained: why Berlin?
Finally on Monday, wanting to bring an end to the speculation, McLaren Mercedes' engineering director Paddy Lowe confirmed that the Berlin launch was operated at the request of the team's official title sponsor Vodafone.
“It's at the request of Vodafone,” said Lowe. “They want to launch in Berlin as part of Vodafone Germany operations.”
That being said, McLaren will be present at the first winter test with an interim car, and only after their car launch in Berlin they will send the new challenger to the track, namely at the Jerez venue (host of the second test of February). Despite media suggestions that McLaren have delayed the launch event due to the fact that their MP4-26 is not ready, Lowe recently fended off those rumors.
“It's always been in our plans to launch it after the first test,” he said recently. “One of the reasons was we wanted to make use of the first test to work with the car as a stable and known platform while we understood the new (Pirelli) tires. It also gave us a bit more time in the programme for the new car.”