Season five of Formula 1: Drive to survive could potentially feature scenes of McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown smashing a Chromebook or Android tablet, Tom Brady-style, thanks to a new arrangement between the team and Google.
In 2020 McLaren ended its deal with OnePlus which produced several powerfully specified black and orange Android phones, but there is no indication that a similar branding exercise is coming to the Pixel series anytime soon.
Instead, the new “multi-year” agreement between Google and McLaren puts branding on the MCL36, driven by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo (which is now available to drive in the Bahrain GP’s season opening after multiple negative tests after a case of COVID-19), their racing suits and helmets, and on McLaren’s number 58 McLaren MX Extreme E race car drivers and team.
In these pictures you can see the Android logo peeking out from the hood (thanks, Benjamin Cartwright) while the familiar colors of Google Chrome are clearly visible on the covers of the 18-inch rims.
If you’re not familiar with these branded wheels in F1, it’s an opportunity that presents itself as hubcaps are re-introduced for the first time since 2009. As noted by Formula1.com, the covers are a mandatory addition to all cars this season, and while they have a simpler design than some cars in the mid-’00s, they are part of the changes that have been made. to reduce the turbulence created by each car so they can track better and, ideally, have more overtaking opportunities. Motorsport.com has more information about the history of hubcaps in F1, why they were banned before the 2010 season and why they’re back now, including one not that the curvaceous design should make them easier for mechanics during pit stops.
They also say McLaren will “use 5G-enabled Android devices and Chrome browser during its operations during practice sessions, qualifying and races to support the drivers and the team, with the aim of improving performance on the track.” In a statement, Brown said: “By integrating platforms such as Android and Chrome into our operations, our team will be better supported to focus on improving performance. We look forward to an exciting partnership spanning Formula 1.” and Extreme E.”
As a viewer, the shot is less tedious than the often useless “Insights powered by AWS” of the Amazon-sponsored race broadcast, but as Microsoft has discovered with its Surface and the NFL, the real branding opportunity comes when someone decides to give you a shot. equipment.
Update March 5, 1:47 AM ET: Added additional photos of the MCL36 and information on hubcaps for the 2022 F1 cars.