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Formula 1 Austrian GP

The Aston Martin and Red Bull design cues behind McLaren’s F1 upgrade

McLaren has unleashed the first part of a significant update package for its MCL60 at Formula 1’s Austrian Grand Prix as it bids to turn around its fortunes. 

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, with aero paint applied

Only Lando Norris has the updates at his disposal for the time being, with Oscar Piastri forced to wait until the British Grand Prix as the team prepares enough parts for both sides of the garage. 

As expected, given that even Mercedes and Ferrari have abandoned their own design concepts and switched to the now common downwash ramp-style solution, McLaren has also made a directional shift. 

This appears to have taken further influence from the front-end of the pack, with design cues from both the Red Bull RB19 and Aston Martin AMR23 clear to see. 

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

The RB19 influence comes in the form of the open top, underbite-style sidepod inlet, which seemingly permits a shallower opening than would otherwise be needed and also allows for a more generous undercut to be employed.  

This now reaches back further down the sidepod assembly too and reaches right the way back to the ramp section, tapering as it does into the floor. Here, notably, the metal support stay intersects the bodywork and anchors at the engine cover. 

Given the changes made to the inlet, the rear view mirror body and the stays have also been repositioned to help improve flow downstream.  

In addition to this, the halo has a new fairing, which not only incorporates a new blade-style transition out of the cockpit section, but there’s also a winglet mounted on the side of the safety structure too. 

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

Clearly the biggest talking point in regards to the sidepods is the similarity in design to the AMR23 when it comes to the waterslide gulleys. 

McLaren has opted for the much deeper solution, akin to what we have seen Aston Martin use this season. 

The top-down three-quarter view seen above gives a clear indication of the passageway that’s created too, with the airflow directed into the coke bottle region at the rear of the car. 

The airflow’s passage over the rear of the car is also altered by a reprofiling of the engine cover, which has also resulted in the movement and resizing of the cooling gill panel that’s now housed across the shoulder of the cover, rather than creating multiple vertical openings. 

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The sidepods are just one part of the jigsaw puzzle though, with the floor also being heavily revised as part of this package 

As is always the case, most of the real technical endeavour will be buried away in the underfloor, away from our prying eyes, but there’s still a smorgasbord of new and interesting design aspects we can observe on the upper surfaces too.  

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This starts with the floor fences, which have been redesigned and repositioned in order to enhance the performance of the front corner of the underfloor. 

Meanwhile, the bulge used to conceal the lower SIS within the structure of the floor has been increased in size, owing to the surrounding surfaces being tightened around it, whilst the rear cutout and flap arrangement ahead of the rear tyre has also been discarded. 

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Filip Cleeren

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