Reigning World Champ Lewis Hamilton is gearing up for an exciting 2009 season as he prepares to defend his crown in the wake of new regulations.
This year's Championship promises to offer an interesting mix as new rules have changed Formula One as we know it. Not only do the 2009 cars feature drastic changes to the aerodynamic packages but there's the introduction of KERS and a return to slick tyres.
Speaking at Friday's launch of McLaren's new MP4-24, Hamilton hailed the day as an emotional one and for more than one reason.
"The arrival of a new car is always an emotional moment for any racing driver - and the unveiling of MP4-24 is even more special for me, not only because the car looks absolutely stunning but also because it carries the World Champion's number one," he said.
The Brit's car carries the number '1' after he won last year's World title in a thrilling showdown at the season-ending Brazilian GP.
Hamilton eventually won the title by one point ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa and says that this year he expects much of the same.
"I believe this year's World Championship is open, given the new rule changes and that's a great prospect for every Formula 1 fan.
"Personally, I'm hoping for another successful season and the chance to once again fight for the title - until the final race if necessary, but preferably before!"
However, the team is taking nothing for granted as McLaren team boss Ron Dennis concedes that just because they won the crown last year it doesn't mean they will have an easy run to the title this season.
"Despite our victory in the 2008 Drivers' World Championship we have taken nothing for granted in our preparations for the season ahead," said Dennis.
"Indeed, if anything, our efforts to fully understand this period of huge regulatory change have been more thorough and concerted than ever before.
"And while the scale of the technical changes makes it difficult to accurately assess the true competitive outlook of the year ahead, as a team we can feel proud of our efforts and look forward to another close season of Formula One motor racing.
"As ever, we exist to win and our target remains the successful acquisition of both this year's Drivers' and Constructors' World titles."