New McLaren MP4-21 debuts at Barcelona

McLaren's 2006 challenger, the MP4-21, had its track debut at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on January 23rd, with test driver Pedro de la Rosa behind the wheel for the shakedown. Juan Pablo Montoya will be in the cockpit on Tuesday and Kimi ...

New McLaren MP4-21 debuts at Barcelona

McLaren's 2006 challenger, the MP4-21, had its track debut at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya on January 23rd, with test driver Pedro de la Rosa behind the wheel for the shakedown. Juan Pablo Montoya will be in the cockpit on Tuesday and Kimi Raikkonen will have his first taste of the new car on Thursday.

Pedro de la Rosa tests the new McLaren MP4-21.
Photo by McLaren.

"I am really pleased to have been at the wheel of MP4-21 today," said de la Rosa. "The car feels good initially, but it is of course too early to really understand it's potential and we need to put a lot more laps on it."

"We have around 20 days of on track running before the cars leave for Bahrain on Friday 3rd March. As today is the initial shakedown, our focus will be to familiarise ourselves with the MP4-21 and the Mercedes-Benz FO 108S V8 engine, and to run the various systems checks that are required with a new car."

McLaren describes the car's concept as an evolution of 2005's MP4-20, which won ten Grands Prix last season. The initial research for the MP4-21 began back in August 2004 when the team began work on the Mercedes V8 engine, and the development of the aerodynamic programme, drivetrain and transmission began in April 2005. Chassis production commenced in September last year.

"Visually MP4-21 will look very similar to MP4-20," said McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale. "In addition to the tighter packaging to the rear of the car, people will notice differences to the nose area, which has been lowered, and the aero body work, such as the barge boards and deflectors."

"The reduction in required cooling for the V8 engine has allowed us to in turn reduce the size of air intakes, this includes apertures in the main chassis, which is beneficial to the overall aerodynamic package."

The engine regulation change from the V10 to the V8 was the biggest influence in the design process. "The challenge with a brand new Formula One car is the same every year, but nevertheless there were even more intensive tasks to be dealt with this year than ever before," said Mercedes vice-president Norbert Haug.

"The regulations require new V8 engines with a 2.4-litre capacity, and in addition to this the need to compensate for the restriction of the aerodynamics, this took a lot of time and effort. The power reduction by more than 150 bhp put additional strain on the aerodynamic concept."

"The aim was to further reduce drag and maintain or even increase downforce -- which with the given limitations reminded the technicians that it is possible to achieve the impossible. As a result of this complex task it was important to invest sufficient time before the final definitions were made."

The MP4-21 is running in the interim orange livery and McLaren is due to launch its new livery in mid-February, when a second new chassis will be on track.

MP4-21 technical specifications

Engine
Type: Mercedes Benz FO 108S
No. of cylinders: 8
Fuel: Mobil Unleaded
Lubricants: Mobil 1 products
Weight: 95kg

Transmission
Gearbox Speeds: Seven forward and one reverse
Semi-auto: Yes
Driveshafts: McLaren
Clutch: Hand-operated
Chassis: McLaren moulded carbon fibre/aluminium honeycomb composite incorporating front and side impact structures. Contains integral safety fuel cell.
Front Suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement.
Rear Suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement.
Suspension dampers: McLaren.
Electronics: McLaren Electronic Systems control units incorporating electronics for chassis, engine and data acquisition. McLaren Electronic Systems also supplies the electronic dash board, alternator voltage control, sensors, data analysis and telemetry systems.

Bodywork Construction: One-piece sidepod and engine cover. Separate floor section, structural nose with integral front wing.
Tyres: Michelin
Radios: Kenwood
Race Wheels: Enkei
Batteries: GS Yuasa Corporation
Steering: McLaren power-assisted
Instruments: McLaren Electronic Systems
Adhesives: Henkel Technologies

shares
comments
Rosberg tops Jerez test times

Previous article

Rosberg tops Jerez test times

Next article

Ferrari launches the 248 F1 at Mugello

Ferrari launches the 248 F1 at Mugello
Load comments
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021