This is an important year for McLaren-Honda. Their 2015 season was dominated by embarrassing retirements, radio outbursts and a power deficit that made Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso a pair of sitting ducks on anything that vaguely resembled a straight.
Promisingly for the team though, reports over the winter have suggested that Honda have fixed the flaws that held them back last year, with some going as far as saying that the upgrades will put them right back in the mix come the first race in Melbourne next month.
Just how accurate the speculation is remains to be seen, although Alonso himself claimed that a lap-time gain of two-and-a-half seconds was possible during the off-season.
McLaren will have a much better idea of where they stand after the first pre-season test in Barcelona, which begins at the Circuit de Catalunya next week.
As well as looking for a performance gain, they will be hoping to get significant miles under their belt having burned through an eye-watering number of power units over the course of the year. By the time Lewis Hamilton had fitted his fourth and final engine for the Russian Grand Prix in October, McLaren’s drivers had used nineteen between them.
With the covers coming off the new MP4-31 this weekend, the team has given fans a small taste of what to expect by releasing a short audio clip of their car starting up at the McLaren Technology Centre.
You can listen to it in its full, ear-rumbling glory by clicking on this handily underlined group of words.
Last month Williams’ technical chief Pat Symonds said that F1 would be much louder in 2016 thanks to changes in the regulations governing exhaust pipes. On this evidence, he could well be right.