McLaren F1 brought a very visible evolution to its MCL36 at the French Grand Prix, with sidepods largely inspired by what has previously been seen on the Alpine A522. James Key, the technical director, explains how the Woking team has thought about this evolution, which directly follows the innovations brought to Barcelona.
“The new pieces are a kind of logical progression of the last great evolution we brought to Barcelona” said the Key. “The body may look very different, but it actually follows similar themes. So it’s kind of an evolution of what we’ve been doing.”
“We had very, very good feedback on Friday. The data confirms that the car seems to be doing what we expected. I think racing both of them on Friday allowed Lando [Norris] to actually see the differences and report the differences I could feel.”
“The conditions from the morning to the afternoon were pretty similar. And he came back with some really useful data on it, and then he went all the way to get the mileage and the first comments. So, so far, so good good”.
“We all know what we want to do”
Key explains how the teams work to better solve problems and get the most out of the cars. There doesn’t seem to be a miracle recipe, as the Brit explains, as the very different F1-75 and RB18 are very similar in performance.
“We all know what we want to do with our cars. What’s hard is doing it. We also have a lot of data about our car. We can understand where the deficiencies are and relate the driver’s feedback to what the car is doing, so like their shortcomings. strengths.”
“But obviously we attack the problems as our main goal. And we can see and feel what we have to do next. This year there are two dominant teams, and we can see that the performances of Red Bull and Ferrari are quite different, even. if it results in a similar level of competitiveness.”
“With a lot of analysis we can get an idea of what we should try to achieve and, taking the current situation, with this evolution demonstrating certain things, we can see where we need to go. Write a notebook charging for it. is the part easy. Getting there, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Key reassures himself about the new pontoons
The new MCL36 sport pontoons descend towards its rear, like what we see on Red Bull or Alpine. While other teams carry flat sidepods, Key isn’t worried about them getting ruined.
“I had plans to do a body with a lot of underbody wash for a long time. We might have been able to launch it, but for a number of reasons we didn’t at the time, and there are a number of reasons for that, which I will. not go into details.
“But yeah, it was good to see that other teams had taken a similar approach to what we originally thought and came up with. There’s kind of a trend with these flatter sidepods. Ferrari really had the most extreme example of that , but the wash philosophy seems like a good compromise for that.”
“That’s where we got to, but it was planned for a long time. And it’s good to see that it’s tending to do what we expected. And in terms of aerodynamic consistency, I think the car is doing what it’s supposed to do. “