Norris to race with new McLaren nose concept at F1 Russian GP

McLaren has committed to running its new nose concept with Lando Norris for Russian Grand Prix qualifying and the race in Sochi

Norris to race with new McLaren nose concept at F1 Russian GP

The new design was first tried by Carlos Sainz Jr on Friday in Mugello, and the latest iteration was run by Norris on the first day of the Russian GP weekend. It is part of a wider package of updates that the Woking-based team is introducing step-by-step.

Norris also ran with a standard set-up on Friday - a strategy that he said was also in part to avoid the risk of damaging the new one - before the team made a final call last night on which direction to take.

Despite a lack of spare parts creating problems if any damage is incurred, McLaren ultimately decided to run the new spec, and will gain information from a full race distance on Sunday.

Norris was 20th and slowest in Saturday's FP3 session after not completing his qualifying simulation run, while Sainz was an encouraging third with the standard nose.

"We had a decent Friday," team boss Andreas Seidl told Sky Sport F1. "Hopefully we can carry the momentum forward. We did some changes to the car overnight, so hopefully we can make the next step in terms of performance.

"We decided to continue with the new nose concept in the morning with Lando, with a target to carry this forward to qualifying and the race tomorrow. On Carlos's side we decided to stick with the old concept.

"This new nose is part of a wider package which we'll try to introduce gradually step-by-step, so the full gain of this nose is not there yet. But still it's important for us to collect as much data as possible as early as possible, and this is why we decided to split both cars.

"At the same time it's a big logistical challenge at the moment, the number of parts is quite low on the new nose. That's why we go forward like that."

The new solution, which bears a resemblance to the nose design used by Mercedes for some time now and subsequently adopted by the likes of Racing Point and Renault, features narrower pillars beneath the nose structure that connect it to the front wing, whilst the cape now forms its own surface, rather than being constructed as part of the wing pillars.

However, in Sochi McLaren has also installed new bargeboards and sidepod deflectors used from previous races and the team has moved its attention further forward this time around, focusing on the front wing.

The new design concentrates its efforts in two main areas - the Y250 region, which sees the lowermost flap shortened and the tip blunted and the two flaps above now have an additional metal support placed between them to prevent the gap between them closing.

In the section of the wing outboard of the adjuster, the flaps have been relaxed slightly to alter how the airflow migrates across and around the face of the tyre in order to improve the trajectory of the wake turbulence as it travels down the length of the car.

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