McLaren goes experimental to get 2021 F1 head start

Formula 1’s rules may prevent teams from designing all-new cars for next year, but that does not mean aerodynamic development is stopping.

McLaren goes experimental to get 2021 F1 head start

The proof that teams are still working flat out in preparation for next year came in Friday practice at Spa-Francorchamps, when McLaren ran what it described as some ‘experimental’ parts to get a head start on its 2021 efforts.

With the FIA expecting gains in downforce to come, and F1 using the same tyres for the third year in a row, some rule changes have been agreed to cut back on car performance.

By far the biggest of these changes comes to the edge of the floor, with a large diagonal slice being taken out of the rear corner, limiting what can be done with the critical area just ahead of the rear tyre.

2021 floor rules

2021 floor rules

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In recent years, teams have developed floors that consist of complex designs on the floor’s edge and ahead of the rear tyre.

Using fully enclosed holes, rather than the slots that were unlocked when the rules were changed in 2017, gives each team a potent tool with which to fight the ingress of turbulence under the floor created by the front wheels.

This also allows them to manipulate tyre squirt created by the deformation of the rear tyre, which can be damaging to the performance of the diffuser. 

Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL35 with a 2021 spec floor

Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL35 with a 2021 spec floor

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

In preparation for this, McLaren is believed to be the first team to have tested a 2021 style specification floor, having equipped Carlos Sainz’s car with a new design in Belgium.

It was only a brief dalliance during FP1 but this will undoubtedly offer some real-world insight into the amount of downforce that will be lost by the changes and provide the team with some crucial data in order that it can recover some of those losses.

Speaking earlier in the day, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said that the parts were about getting some understanding for later in the year – when teams will be to finalise their development direction.

“We will also test today in FP1, if conditions allow and it stays dry, some experimental aero parts for later in the season,” he had revealed.

McLaren MCL35 bargeboard detail

McLaren MCL35 bargeboard detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Meanwhile, over on the other side of the garage, Lando Norris was given the latest updates to test, with the team optimising its sidepod deflector arrangement for the Belgian GP.

The main deflector panels remain largely unchanged but a row of three flaps have been added beneath the main assembly to help tidy up flow in that region.

Read Also:

shares
comments

Related video

New Williams F1 team owner has no links to Ecclestone
Previous article

New Williams F1 team owner has no links to Ecclestone

Next article

Belgian GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Ricciardo

Belgian GP: Verstappen tops FP2 from Ricciardo
Load comments
Why 2022 could be Leclerc's best chance to end his Monaco F1 curse Prime

Why 2022 could be Leclerc's best chance to end his Monaco F1 curse

Charles Leclerc's ill-fortune at his home Formula 1 race is well-established. But his single lap pace and over longer runs during Friday practice will leave the Ferrari driver upbeat that he can make up for his Barcelona disappointment by finally recording a finish and perhaps even banking 25 world championship points in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix...

Formula 1
May 27, 2022
The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom Prime

The inevitable consequence of the Liberty F1 popularity boom

Sell out crowds at Formula 1 races are the norm rather than the exception these days, as grand prix racing is enjoying a massive boom under Liberty Media. But the Spanish Grand Prix highlighted numerous issues some circuits may face as demand for F1 soars

Formula 1
May 26, 2022
The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice Prime

The danger for Red Bull in its Barcelona F1 team orders choice

OPINION: Red Bull walked into a team orders saga on its way to taking a Spanish Grand Prix 1-2 last weekend, where it took the lead of the 2022 Formula 1 world championships for the first time. But its decisions have added an element of risk to later races.

Formula 1
May 25, 2022
Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed Prime

Why Mercedes' Spanish GP gains aren't as grand as they seemed

Mercedes' strong showing in last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix prompted team boss Toto Wolff to say it had halved its deficit to the leaders and its Formula 1 title chances were back on after a rocky start to the 2022 campaign. But a closer inspection of the team's performance suggests its gains aren't as grand as they first appeared

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy? Prime

What's next for the Green Red Bull controversy?

From the 'pink Mercedes' to the 'Green Red Bull', the Silverstone-based team has received suspicious glares from up and down the Formula 1 paddock over its car design exploits. But after being cleared by the FIA over its Spanish Grand Prix updates amid a backdrop of cries of foul play, what's next in this saga?

Formula 1
May 24, 2022
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

In an unusually hectic Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc was denied a dominant performance by his Ferrari engine letting go which allowed Max Verstappen to pick up the pieces. But numerous flashpoints kept the race twisting and turning throughout, with one perfect score from an emerging contender

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain Prime

How Verstappen overcame his and Red Bull’s errors to win in Spain

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari engine disaster offered an open goal for Max Verstappen and Red Bull to strike, but the reigning Formula 1 world champion still had to solve multiple errors and profit from a begrudged assist from team-mate Sergio Perez, which created an unexpectedly eventful Spanish Grand Prix

Formula 1
May 23, 2022
Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari Prime

Why Red Bull can win a Spanish GP that looked perfect for Ferrari

Formula 1's return to Spain on Friday ended with Ferrari leading the way from Mercedes, while Red Bull could only manage third fastest overall courtesy of Max Verstappen. But its chances of victory are far from remote with a deeper dig into the times despite Ferrari's strong start...

Formula 1
May 20, 2022