Click to view our fantastic subscription offers

Instant access to the F1 paddock

You have 5 views remaining

You have read 10 stories this month. After 15, you will need to register or subscribe.

Register with us for free to view 30 stories a month.

Or subscribe to AUTOSPORT+ for unlimited news stories and access to our exclusive subscriber-only content.

Our commitment to quality journalism

We've introduced metered access to AUTOSPORT which will ensure that the majority of our visitors can continue to view the site for free. But we think that is worth a small investment from those who use it most, so that we can continue to send the leading experts in their field to motor racing paddocks all over the world to break the latest news and produce the most compelling interviews and race reports.

Every visitor gets 15 free page views per month. Once you reach the limit you can register to get 30 views or choose one of our value-for-money subscription packages to continue viewing and to get additional access to a range of features including:

  • Unlimited access to AUTOSPORT with news and views from the paddock
  • Enjoy AUTOSPORT+: subscriber-only analysis, comment and top-quality pictures
  • Get AUTOSPORT magazine in a digital format on your computer or iPad every week
  • Full access to FORIX - the world's best motorsport statistics website

We greatly appreciate your continued support to keep AUTOSPORT at the forefront of motorsport coverage, and we look forward to welcoming you as a new subscriber.

Glenn Freeman Editor
Find out more about our subscriptions

McLaren set to switch to higher nose in Spanish Grand Prix

McLaren noseTeam principal Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren is likely to switch to the new high nose design it trialled on the final afternoon of in-season testing at Mugello.

The new nose is far higher at the front than the original design, and features significantly longer pillars - effectively bringing it far closer to the stepped designs used by the rest of the field.

While McLaren only trialled the high nose in the final hours at Mugello, Whitmarsh said during a Vodafone phone-in on Wednesday that the team would run the design again in Barcelona, and that it was reasonable to expect it to remain on the car for the race.

"There's a reasonable chance we will see it on Sunday, which will be the first time our drivers experience it," Whitmarsh said.

"We got a lot of feedback from Mugello, so we have the data to set it up and can find the performance on track."

Asked about the philosophy behind the new design, Whitmarsh said the higher nose helped manage the airflow directed to the rear of the car.

"Classically of course you are looking for lower drag and higher downforce, but be aware that nowadays incremental improvements are generally modest," he said.

"In the case of the nose and front wing the attachment pylons are quite different and there are other subtle differences.

"You are managing the airflow that is enjoyed by the rest of the car. Nowadays, in quite a critical part of the car you are looking to find very small improvements. [There are] a lot of restrictions around the back end of the car, so you generate more improvement by managing the flow that arrives there than by developing the rear itself."

Whitmarsh said he expected McLaren to prove competitive once again after its poor showing in Bahrain, but said it was impossible to be fully confident given how competitive 2012 has proved.

"I believe we will be competitive in Spain and going forward, but you don't know what other teams are going to do," he said. "I think great thing about this sport is you can never been fully confident you understand everything.

"[We] have a car clearly able to be on front row in each of the first four races and therefore the pace is inherently there. We are working to continuously develop the car, but you can never be confident that other teams won't up their game and give you harder time.

"We had an interesting data gathering test at Mugello, and we will see at Barcelona but we expect to put that knowledge to good use."

To read more about McLaren's new design, and the other key upgrades from Mugello, check out this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed