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Formula 1 McLaren launch

How McLaren has optimised MCL60 F1 design cues from Red Bull

McLaren unveiled its MCL60 challenger ahead of the 2023 season on Monday, with the team clearly focused on optimising the concepts that it adopted during the course of last season.

McLaren MCL60

McLaren, like many of its rivals, switched its sidepod concept during 2022, moving away from the narrow rear body design that it employed at the start the season to something more representative of the downwash ramp solution seen on the Red Bull and AlphaTauri.

As the season progressed, it made further changes to the inlet region too, with the update introduced at the Singapore Grand Prix once again drawing inspiration from Red Bull, as it used a retracted upper leading edge that increased flow into and through the sidepods.

McLaren MCL60 sidepod inlet comparison

McLaren MCL60 sidepod inlet comparison

The MCL60 takes all these features and improves upon them, which has been made possible due to having a blank canvas within which to package the internal components with the external bodywork in mind.

Having the ability to rework the positioning of the radiators, coolers, electronics and side impact protection spars have resulted in a much more shrink-wrapped design for the bodywork, with a much longer undercut beneath the inlet.

McLaren MCL60

McLaren MCL60

Photo by: McLaren

A swage line has also been introduced that falls off along the flank of the sidepod bodywork into the elongated undercut, in a similar vein to what we saw from Red Bull and latterly Aston Martin, which appropriated the design feature.

The cooling gills and downwash ramp design are also retained but should see an uptick in performance from the reprofiling of the sidepods’ upper surface, which appears to have been recessed in much the same way Alpine did with its bodywork last season. And, having been one of the teams to already have the shelf-like engine cover solution in 2022, it’s unsurprising to see it return.

McLaren MCL60, detail top view

McLaren MCL60, detail top view

Photo by: McLaren

The lack of revisions of the floor’s edge might suggest that what we are seeing isn’t what we should expect to see once the car is unveiled in Bahrain, with the team already bullish on the developments that it has in the pipeline for the MCL60.

Meanwhile, the forward upper wishbone arm on the front suspension was already housed rather high on the car's predecessor, but it appears that the team has decided to take things even further with the MCL60 if the renders are to be believed.

We’ll have to wait to see the real car in the flesh before casting judgement on this though, as the car shown in the studio presentation didn’t appear to be as aggressive in this department.

McLaren MCL60, detail front suspension

McLaren MCL60, detail front suspension

Photo by: McLaren

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