F1 technical analysis: McLaren's big Austrian GP aero upgrade

As part of its bid to regain competitiveness, the McLaren-Honda Formula 1 team introduced a major update, led by a new short nose, for the Austrian Grand Prix

F1 technical analysis: McLaren's big Austrian GP aero upgrade

Following the pattern of most other teams, the previously very long nose sported by the MP4-30 has been changed for a very short thumb-tipped version.

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Its external design echoes that of Williams, with its wide square-edged shape, reduced to the minimum dimensions allowed by the rules.

The nose's introduction, along with the other aerodynamic updates, was fraught all the way up to the start of the session.

A shorter nose is harder to crash test, with the 2015 regulations enforcing a more stringent deceleration rate for the first 150mm of the nose, in order to outlaw to last year's super-thin noses.

This means the team has had to work hard to create an inner structure to meet the FIA demands in such a short nose length.

Despite the outward similarity to Williams's nose, it will be interesting to see if the inner structure also follows the unique design of the Williams.

The nose box, as McLaren call it, passed the independent crash tests. But a discrepancy in the testing process lead to a query from the FIA, which delayed the nose's debut until the second session.

Other parts of the upgrade were still en-route to the Red Bull Ring on Friday morning, resulting a last-minute final assembly of the full package.

The nose was, as planned, only used on Fernando Alonso's car while Jenson Button - who had first call on the previous major upgrade in China - sticking with the old version, though both drivers' days were heavily disrupted by other mechanical problems.

Having a shorter nose is a different aerodynamic philosophy to the previous long design.

Both have their benefits, but the short nose is believed to create better airflow towards the back of the car, due to reducing the obstruction at the front.

This allows the aerodynamics to be more efficient as the cleaner airflow improves the function of the diffuser and rear wing.

As it is a different aero concept, the nose needs to be mated to new bodywork, including the front wing, floor and diffuser.

All of these were fitted for Alonso's car for what became a short test of the new parts.

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