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McLaren claim "unfinished business" with MCL35M

McLaren claim "unfinished business" with MCL35M

F1 News

McLaren claim "unfinished business" with MCL35M

McLaren claim "unfinished business" with MCL35M
Sam Hall & Ewan Gale

McLaren technical director James Key believes the team has "unfinished business" with its 2021 challenger due to the pressures of developing a car for this year's new regulations.

F1 has undergone a radical revamp of its regulations with cars set to look vastly different as aerodynamic components are largely lost from the top-face of the vehicle in order to reduce turbulent air for following drivers.

With such an overhaul looming, teams were forced to compromise development last year between their competitive challengers and the new breed entering the sport this term.

McLaren was able to add innovation to its 2021 design despite a large carryover from 2020 and asked in an end of season media briefing how valuable the learnings from last year could be, Key replied: “There certainly was knowledge that you can gain that is still valid for the this year.

"But these things often are the function of tyres, the function of many other characteristics which you need to tune. But certain mechanical solutions, like ride height for example, that is certainly valid for both seasons.

“I think with the concepts we introduced, we were slightly better in certain conditions on the track [than in 2020] so chipping away at some of those sensitivities. Some of it was related to some of the conceptual work we did.

“Obviously, we were homologated mechanically largely so there was only so far you could take some of them, but we did improve. Our wind sensitivity was better and that was a part of what we knew we had to improve over 2020.

“I think some of what we did definitely carried through. Obviously, it was a bit of an odd year because the car was frozen mechanically from race one step by step [in 2020].

"So we brought some new bits that were intended for ’21 early, things like the nose cone for example, the front suspension last year as well on the 2020 car and those new concepts did work."

Explaining why McLaren couldn't optimise the developments made for the MCL35M, Key added: “I guess probably to make the most of them, we could have done with a year with a ’22 car that was based on the same regs.

"We could have continued to evolve the car around these ideas, these concepts and made logical next steps.

“There’s definitely unfinished business with the [2021] car in that respect. We didn’t cover everything we would have liked to but that was inevitable considering the importance of the ’22 development.

“I think by and large we got things to work. There’s nothing we wouldn’t have done differently, that is for sure but we could have taken it further had we had that opportunity.”

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