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McLaren explain aerodynamic losses with new regulations

McLaren explain aerodynamic losses with new regulations


McLaren explain aerodynamic losses with new regulations

McLaren explain aerodynamic losses with new regulations

McLaren technical director James Key has explained the extent to which this year's aerodynamic restrictions have reduced downforce levels compared to last season.

With the introduction of the radical new era of Formula 1 delayed until 2022, it has meant last year's technology has largely been carried over.

With safety concerns arising over fears lap times will drop to excessively low levels, aerodynamic tweaks have been enforced to cut downforce from each car to ensure the Pirelli tyres used in the championship can handle high cornering speeds.

“I have heard this from other teams from various meetings as well, but the regulation changes were effective," said Key.

"They have knocked downforce back quite a bit and most of it is rear axle. There are always some upstream implications as well but that is really the aim of these regs, to make them have quite a significant effect.

"We have been in the process of borrowing it back. Our launch spec car is some of that and the race one spec car, which is still in definition at the moment, will be a further chunk of it.

"I can’t give you a percentage of where we will be race one, but it will be a percentage, rather than 110 per cent, let’s say."

One of the defining features of the McLaren MCL35 during last campaign's battle for third place in the constructors' championship was its ability to make up time under heavy braking.

Key has insisted the loss of braking potential is not the only area compromised by the regulation changes but has not ruled out attaining the performance of last year by the end of the season.

“There are some minor characteristic changes we have seen," added Key. "I think some of that can be developed out.

"You could argue that braking is one of them, there are some other sensitivities we feel can be improved a bit so it is a bit of a mixed bag.

"I think probably, what we will see when we go to winter testing and the start of the season is semi-mature cars with some of this aero, there seems to be some potential still there. It has had the effect of halting the rapid progress that has been going on.

"With having these cars for a long time, we kind of had to do that for an extra year of these regs after the lap times last year but there is still development potential around the rest of the car and to find in these engines as well.

"So I guess, by the time we get into the season, most would have recovered everything, whether it is race one, it is difficult to say. I don’t think it will be 100 per cent quite yet.”


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