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McLaren believe "unique" diffuser will "be forgotten" by start of season

McLaren believe "unique" diffuser will "be forgotten" by start of season

F1 News

McLaren believe "unique" diffuser will "be forgotten" by start of season

McLaren believe "unique" diffuser will "be forgotten" by start of season
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

McLaren technical director James Key has praised the "unique" diffuser design that caught the eye during Formula 1 pre-season testing in Bahrain but believes it will soon be an after-thought once the campaign starts.

As part of the new aerodynamic regulations for the season aimed at cutting downforce levels achieved by modern F1 cars, aerodynamic diffuser strakes were shortened by 50mm compared to last year.

McLaren, however, spotted an opportunity and utilised a loophole in the regulations to extend the two strakes immediately next to the main diffuser body inwards and downwards, essentially extending the floor transition area.

"I think it is always nice for a team to come up with an idea which is unique," said Key.

"The credit fully goes to our guys in the aero department and the aero group for realising that there was an opportunity there to use the new regulations in such a way.

"Full credit to them and in that respect, yes, it is always nice to find something which is maybe a little bit unique to us.

"As far as the talking point is concerned I guess it is one of those things that will get talked about a lot.

"But it is part of a much wider picture of a complex bit at the back of the car so I am sure it will be forgotten by the time we get back here in a couple of weeks' time."

McLaren was no doubt one of the standout performers over the three-day test, but although the team emerged from the weekend unscathed after showing promising pace, the relatively low lap count has raised eyebrows.

Key, however, dismissed any cause for concern, reiterating the team was running to a schedule purposefully cautious to coincide with the integration of the new Mercedes power unit.

"[There is] an element of caution there to a certain extent and this was the first time we have put proper laps together in dry conditions with some normal challenges a race circuit in these conditions would give us, so there is a little bit of step-by-step to begin with.

"There is no negative reason for the lap count we have, it is more to do with the fact we swapped our drivers everyday which always has a bit of a timing implication.

"But we also try to split our time between data gathering, which can be time-consuming sometimes, and just sticking miles on the car.

"Of course, we would like to put a lot of miles on the car immediately but if you do that, you don't necessarily get all of the little tests done, which we started the days with.

"I think the programme we have had has ticked a lot of boxes. We are in a slightly different situation to others where we had some extra boxes to tick with the new engine as well."

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