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F1 technical analysis: McLaren's Red Bull-influenced new front wing

The McLaren Formula 1 team ran its new Red Bull-influenced front wing during Friday's first free practice session for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The wing is totally different in concept to the outgoing McLaren design, which used four main elements plus a vane on the endplate to direct airflow around the tyre.

There were also a pair of cascade devices above the wing to manage the tyre's turbulent wake.

Now the wing has five elements with the outer spans split to form a stack of six elements near the wing tip.

Many teams are moving away from the twisted end plate vanes at the wing's end and running far straighter endplates as it seems the narrower 2014 front wings do not need such aggressive shapes to send their wake outboard of the front tyre.

McLaren's new endplate is straighter and features cutouts along its bottom edge, similar to Red Bull's current design.

The cascade elements above the main front wing are new and the deep winglet and separate vane inboard of it have been replaced with a simpler winglet with a matching smaller wing mounted inboard of it.

RED BULL INFLUENCE BUT NO COPY

This is the first major upgrade created under the direction of former Red Bull head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou.

While the wing is similar to Red Bull's, this is only the case in concept terms and it is in no way a direct copy.

Designs for one car do not necessarily work on another, but concepts can be reapplied and McLaren is allowed to take advantage of the philosophies used on one of the best chassis on the grid.

The wing ran on Kevin Magnussen's car during the session, with the car fitted with a full rig of aero sensors, and it is possible the wing could be used in qualifying and the race if it performed well.

In recent years McLaren has run far less complicated front wings than its opposition, but this season it has produced wings at least as complex as others.

As teams have learned about the new-for-2014 narrower front wings, differing directions have been taken.

This major new update, which is believed to be combined with some detail changes to other aero surfaces, was developed in just nine weeks, which is realistically as quickly as it is possible to design, simulate and construct such a complex component.

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