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
The 0.759% shift that created F1 2021's thriller  Prime

The 0.759% shift that created F1 2021's thriller 

Formula 1’s craziest title fight in years was long in the making. GP Racing reveals how a tiny swing - in absolute terms – equated to a big change in the balance of F1 power in 2021.

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022