McLaren set to switch to higher nose in Spanish Grand Prix

Team 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

McLaren set to switch to higher nose in Spanish Grand Prix

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.

shares
comments
Spain preview quotes: Marussia

Previous article

Spain preview quotes: Marussia

Next article

Spain preview quotes: Williams

Spain preview quotes: Williams
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Olivier Panis
Teams McLaren
Author Sam Tremayne
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021