Formula 1: McLaren to trial top-speed fix in Azerbaijan GP practice

McLaren will try a "different philosophy" in Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice to try to reduce its top speed deficit at one of Formula 1's fastest circuits, according to Fernando Alonso.


Formula 1: McLaren to trial top-speed fix in Azerbaijan GP practice

Despite switching to Renault engines for 2018, McLaren had the worst top speed in qualifying in Australia and Bahrain, although fared better in China by getting Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne to tow each other down the back straight.


Last year, McLaren had a top speed deficit of 15km/h to the fastest car in Baku, which has four flat-out kinks before the start-finish straight, as both drivers failed to make it out of the first part of qualifying.


"Here was quite a difficult grand prix for us in the past years," Alonso said. "We had some limitations on the power side. 


"It seems this year we still have quite a slow car on the straights but hopefully here we can improve that. 


"We have a different philosophy, a different test, to do on Friday to gain some extra speed and hopefully we can minimise that deficit.


"We've not been in Q3 so far this year and I think it's going to be difficult again, but hopefully we are a little bit closer."


Baku is mostly a traditional street circuit, but poses a unique set-up challenge for teams because the start-finish straight, the longest in F1, means they also need a high top speed.


Alonso said any experimentation on Friday was a reaction to the specific needs of the Baku circuit but said it would also be good for future races like Canada, where straightline speed is also significant. 


Asked by Autosport if the risk of sacrificing the rest of the lap made it harder for McLaren to minimise its top-speed deficit, he replied: "In a way yes, there are very different parts of the circuits here. 


"The compromises you make on one part will be quite bad for the other parts.


"We need to think carefully about that, tomorrow's just a test day so we will test different solutions.


"Overnight it's up to us to balance all of those solutions and make a decision.


"In a way, in a race situation there are not many overtaking manoeuvres on the slow part of the circuit, because it's a narrow street circuit, so normally here to be faster on the straights would be a winning situation."

shares
comments
Formula 1: Williams drivers explain why 2018 car is off the pace

Previous article

Formula 1: Williams drivers explain why 2018 car is off the pace

Next article

Max Verstappen: China F1 errors down to wanting victory too much

Max Verstappen: China F1 errors down to wanting victory too much
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Scott Mitchell
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021