How McLaren has followed Red Bull's Ferrari copy

Discussion in 'F1' started by Giorgio Piola, Apr 16, 2018.


What is your favourite F1 team?

  1. Ferrari

  2. Mercedes

  3. Red Bull

  4. Renault

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  5. Toro Rosso

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  6. Haas

  7. Sauber

  8. Force India

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  9. Williams

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  10. McLaren

  1. Giorgio Piola

    Giorgio Piola Rookie

    Apr 11, 2018
    Full Name:
    Giorgio Piola
    For all of its talk about the start of a new era, McLaren's MCL33 arrived in Melbourne in an aerodynamic trim very much akin to its predecessor.

    However, having clearly had a chassis that appeared so strong in the corners, it was little surprise that the team opted for evolution over revolution.

    The lack of big change at the team had also been impacted by a difficult pre-season testing programme, which meant the focus switched to curing cooling issues rather than fast-tracking updates.

    The Australian GP came and went, and apart from a few optimisations to the floor ahead of the rear tyre, plus tweaks to the diffuser, not much was different on the car from testing.

    But with Australia having given it a platform to move forward, last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix offered us a first glimpse of McLaren's new development and the concept path it is looking at taking in 2018.

    Wing tweaks
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    McLaren MCL33 front wing detail
    Photo by: Giorgio Piola

    The front wing used by both drivers in Bahrain featured revised supports near the tips, as the designers looked to reduce the flutter generated at high speed as this can negatively impact aerodynamic performance downstream.

    Getting this area of the car right is critical for optimising the Y250 vortex upon which the performance of various aerodynamic structure depends.

    Red Bull path
    But other changes that were spotted hinted that McLaren could well be plotting a route down the same path that Red Bull went last year as it played catch up with its RB13.

    It has been noticeable that in the area of the bargeboards, sidepods, deflectors and even the leading edge of the floor, McLaren has appeared lean in its developments compared to other teams.

    If we compare McLaren's development trajectory with Red Bull for example, as they share the closest chassis kinship and now operate the same power unit, the Woking-based team is certainly a few steps behind.

    Last year, Adrian Newey's redeployment at Red Bull saw the team revise an area of the car that he's had difficulty with maximising in the past – and it became a key focus of the team's development push.

    Numerous iterations of its sidepod and bargeboards led the team towards a point where the RB13 actually became a challenger for Mercedes and Ferrari.

    This was a multi-stepped programme, with Red Bull progressively improving the area ahead of the sidepods, with numerous bargeboard iterations being raced between Australia and Great Britain (right insets). It was Hungary, however, that was considered the biggest step forward for this area.

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    Reb Bull Racing RB13 sidepod bargeboard comparsion
    Photo by: Giorgio Piola

    As part of a significant update the team introduced for the Hungaroring, new sidepod bodywork (red arrow), not only improved cooling capabilities but also resolved some aerodynamic inefficiencies it had been carrying.

    In a similar vein it utilised a solution first seen on the Mercedes with three strakes placed on the floor's leading edge (blue arrow) in order to reduce the turbulence created by the front tyre. This solution has now been found on numerous teams up and down the grid.

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    Red Bull RB13 and Ferrari SF70H bargeboards comparison
    Photo by: Giorgio Piola

    In Singapore, Red Bull introduced a design of sidepod deflector that was almost identical to Ferrari (image above) – and prompted Sebastian Vettel to suggest the team had copied his own outfit.[​IMG]

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    McLaren MCL33 deflector comparsion
    Photo by: Mark Sutton

    Now, coincidentally or not, the new sidepod deflector that ran on only Alonso's car bore an uncanny resemblance to the very idea that Ferrari started and Red Bull copied.

    This could point to McLaren pushing down an identical development path that Red Bull went through last season – where it eventually unlocked some great potential but it took a while to get there.

    It is no wonder then that Fernando Alonso is not talking about a miraculous quick turnaround for McLaren but instead of a crucial two months to get things in order.
    375+, kylec, Jeronimo GTO and 3 others like this.
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  3. jgonzalesm6

    jgonzalesm6 F1 World Champ
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    Oct 31, 2016
    Corpus Christi, Tx.
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    Joe R Gonzales
    I think from a visual perspective Giorgio, the side pod deflector was the biggest difference I saw from AusGP to the BahGP from the MCL33.
  4. johnireland

    johnireland F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed BANNED

    Mar 19, 2017
    How much are they spending on all this? I would rather see the rules put more restrictions on constant aero changes and allow more engines and engine development.
    ago car nut likes this.
  5. 67bmer

    67bmer Formula Junior

    Oct 28, 2015
    I think we cant even imagine the level of effort in engineering, analysis, CFD, fabrication, and testing that a wing like that requires. If they REALLY wanted to save costs, they would say 1 main element, 1 secondary element with vertical end plates and be done with it! These things break off and there is no difference in the lap times. Its insane...
  6. Igor Ound

    Igor Ound F1 Veteran

    Sep 30, 2012
    The Horn
    Full Name:
    Igor Ound
    In China Mclaren had a strange S-duct with no visible outlets. Rumors is it could be meant for the B-spec car coming on the European races which will need a new nose and new crash tests
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  8. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    I think that front wings need to be simplifed to at most 2005 standards, if not 1990 standards. And all that crap on and in front of the sidepods needs to be gotten rid of as well.
    375+ and ago car nut like this.
  9. kylec

    kylec F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 9, 2005
    I always thought that defeated the purpose but you see it so frequently.
  10. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

    Dec 4, 2004
    All that nonsense design and an F1 car from 2004 on slicks would still beat it and actually sound good doing it.
    Ferrari 308 GTB likes this.
  11. Ferrari 308 GTB

    Ferrari 308 GTB F1 Veteran

    Feb 21, 2015
    They talking about reducing the aero as early as next year ..lets hope so ..
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  13. jgonzalesm6

    jgonzalesm6 F1 World Champ
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    Oct 31, 2016
    Corpus Christi, Tx.
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    Joe R Gonzales
    Mclarens REAL 2018 car will appear at the Spanish GP as it had to run its evolution of old Honda design....per Autosport

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