McLaren: F1's 2021 rules allow scope for grid shuffle

McLaren technical director James Key thinks there is enough freedom in Formula 1's 2021 rules to allow a big shuffle in the pecking order behind Mercedes.

McLaren: F1's 2021 rules allow scope for grid shuffle

While Formula 1 teams are limited in terms of major car changes for next year because of a chassis freeze, there remains plenty of scope for progress with aero updates.

And with McLaren appearing to be locked in a tight pack of cars behind Mercedes and Red Bull this year, Key senses a good chance for his team – especially with a switch to Mercedes engines - to shuffle up the order.

“I think there's opportunity,” he said. “From a chassis point of view, even though the mechanical side of these cars is frozen, the aerodynamic side is pretty much all free still, and there is a regulation change regarding just knocking out a bit of downforce to support the tyres for the third year. That opens up new avenues that perhaps we haven't gotten out.

“Other than Mercedes who, absolutely hats off to them, they keep year-on-year finding new steps and they're doing an amazing job, behind them it's all very, very close now.

“That does give opportunities to maybe take a step forward. It gives an opportunity to take a step backwards as well of course, but I would say the pecking order just behind Mercedes is a little bit up for grabs either way at the moment for next year. There's enough freedom in the regs to do that, I would say.”

Read Also:

McLaren is the only team making an engine change next year, when it switches from Renault to Mercedes power units.

With Mercedes currently the benchmark power unit on the grid, the change could deliver an added boost beyond any aero gains.

But Key said it was too early for his team to have calculated just what kind of leap his team could expect from the Mercedes move.

“I couldn't say at this point because I don't know what the data will look like for a 2021 Mercedes,” he said “Clearly they've always been kind of industry standard or leaders with power units right from 2014, when they were on the front foot.

“They've done an outstanding job, so it's exciting to go to them. But equally Renault have done a great job for us too over the past couple of years and performance levels really between the power units are pretty close.

“I guess we'll see what what the loads look like and whether there's any sort of additional potential performance in that compared to what we're used to or not. We don't know yet.

“It'll be good to see that data when it's available. I think the '21 engine is still in progress at the moment so we're not going to see that for a while.

shares
comments
Pirelli hopes "responsible" teams won't take stint length risks
Previous article

Pirelli hopes "responsible" teams won't take stint length risks

Next article

Five rival F1 teams lodge appeal in Racing Point copying case

Five rival F1 teams lodge appeal in Racing Point copying case
Load comments
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.

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
The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries Prime

The key aspects of Porsche and Audi's planned F1 entries

The VW Group’s German superpowers of sportscar racing have all but confirmed they are coming to F1 when the next set of engine rules come into force in 2026. Here's why both manufacturers are all set to take the plunge, and crucially how it might work

Formula 1
May 19, 2022
How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup Prime

How Vegas went from byword for F1 indifference to grand Liberty coup

Holding a race in Las Vegas – party central, a city of dreams and decadence and, yes, more than a smattering of tackiness – has been on Liberty Media’s most-wanted list since it acquired Formula 1’s commercial rights. But, as LUKE SMITH explains, F1 has been here before and the relationship didn’t work out

Formula 1
May 18, 2022