Toyota to continue McLaren relationship despite end of F1 wind tunnel deal

Toyota’s motorsport division expects to continue working with the McLaren Formula 1 team in the near future, despite the imminent end of its wind tunnel deal.

Toyota windtunnel

McLaren’s switchover to its own brand-new wind tunnel at its Woking factory is expected to take place this month, bringing an end to a 12-year partnership it had using the Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe (TGR-E) facility in Cologne.

The squad originally began using Toyota’s former F1 wind tunnel back in 2010 and it has helped in the design of every McLaren challenger since.

But while the change of wind tunnels means that McLaren will no longer use the Cologne facility, the Japanese manufacturer does not think that this is the end of the road for their partnership.

TGR-E managing director Rob Leupen said: “Our door remains open to McLaren. We wish them nothing but success with the new wind tunnel and, whilst that naturally changes what services McLaren requires from TGR-E and how often their engineers are likely to be in Cologne, we have an open dialogue and are playing a constructive part in the process of integrating their new wind tunnel into their development programme.

“I think on this activity we have clearly shown how TGR-E can add long-term value to top-level engineering projects, and we look forward to supporting innovative companies like McLaren in the future.”

Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-26

Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-26

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren first began using the Cologne wind tunnel in 2010, a year after the Toyota F1 team pulled out of grand prix racing. It was first used to develop the 2011 race-winning McLaren MP4-26, and has been used all the way through to this year’s MCL60.

The relationship expanded greatly over the years beyond just use of the wind tunnel, as it included making use of R&D and production capabilities too. McLaren also set up exclusive working areas at the Toyota factory, with separate data systems and links back to its Woking factory.

Both parties also worked together on ensuring that the wind tunnel was developed and kept at the cutting-edge of technology throughout its use.

Andrea Stella, McLaren team principal, was clear that Toyota’s input was something that deserved praise.

“TGR-E’s support has been invaluable to our success,” he said. “We have established a good working relationship between the McLaren team and the staff onsite at the facility, with their inhouse additive manufacturing capabilities and other onsite facilities being vital to the development process of our cars.

“As we move forward towards the commissioning of our on-site wind tunnel, which offers significant efficiencies to McLaren and aligns with the new structure being built at the team, we would like to recognise that the work done with the TGR-E wind tunnel has been instrumental in the team’s progress in the past and thank TGR-E for their invaluable support across this period.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Leupen added that Toyota itself was pleased to have been a part of McLaren’s success over the years.

“We are proud to have played a part in McLaren’s Formula 1 story for such a long period,” he explained.

“To have established a trusting relationship and worked together for 12 years is a sign of the mutual respect between our two organisations, as well as the hard work of employees at TGR-E and McLaren to make a success of this relationship. We are sincerely grateful for McLaren’s commitment to us over that time.”

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