McLaren's MP4-29 2014 Formula 1 car - Gary Anderson's verdict

AUTOSPORT's Formula 1 technical expert Gary Anderson gives his verdict on the McLaren MP4-29 after its belated track debut on day two of Jerez testing

McLaren's MP4-29 2014 Formula 1 car - Gary Anderson's verdict

The new McLaren MP4-29 hit the track for the first time on Wednesday morning after missing the first day of testing at Jerez with electrical problems.

It's the first time we have had the chance to see the car in the flesh after last week's digital launch, and it looks like it could put McLaren back where it should be near the front of the field.

Initially, I thought last year's car was a well thought-out design, but that was based on being told that the front wing assembly was a launch-specification and there would be a new one coming.

While there were developments, McLaren never addressed the problem of airflow in front of the tyre, which is critical because that affects the performance of the whole car.

McLaren had a three-element front wing design (pictured), which was miles behind what everyone else at the front was doing.

Having only three elements gives you more surface area for the wing and therefore more overall downforce, but it's much less consistent because the airflow is more prone to separation and when that does happen, you lose a greater percentage of the downforce of the front wing.

This year's front wing is very different, with five elements at the outboard section and a lot of detailing to the wing as opposed to last year's basic concept.

This is one of the main reasons why I'd expect McLaren to have a much stronger season as one of the fundamental problems of the 2013 car has been eliminated.

High-res McLaren MP4-29 shots in the AUTOSPORT testing gallery

The one question mark hanging over McLaren is the anteater nose concept. While the detailing on its design is very neatly implemented, it has not been pursued by Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari, the top three teams in last year's championship.

This doesn't necessarily mean they are right and McLaren is wrong, but everyone will hone in on one concept as time goes on and it will be interesting to see which direction teams take.

The nose is a bolt-on part and all teams will be open to making changes in that area, even though it will have a significant influence on the rest of the car aerodynamically.

There is something interesting at the rear of the car that nobody else has, but which I haven't seen in detail.

This is the way they have shrouded the rear wishbones to produce more rear downforce. This is an important area because of the loss of the rear beam wing.

shares
comments
Formula 1 can't ignore fan backlash over double points - Toto Wolff
Previous article

Formula 1 can't ignore fan backlash over double points - Toto Wolff

Next article

McLaren signs ex-Lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier as racing director

McLaren signs ex-Lotus F1 boss Eric Boullier as racing director
The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams Plus

The time-honoured manufacturer model that can't apply to all F1 teams

What happens, asks MATT KEW, if the old adage of win on a Sunday, sell on a Monday is no longer true for F1 manufacturers?

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

Formula 1
Sep 30, 2022
The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022