Tag Archives: MP4-25

McLaren’s Friday Practice pace is genuine

Normally, it would be impossible for us to find out what fuel weights drivers are running during Friday Practice. However, a well-placed photograph has shown us that both McLaren drivers were running 140kgs of fuel in Friday Practice in China.

140kg is around the amount of fuel used for an entire race distance. We can therefore conclude that McLaren were running race simulations in practice. Not only this, but the fact that Hamilton and Button led both Friday Practice sessions shows the MP4-25 has serious pace this year.

If you have a look at the photo above, there are two sentences at the top. Each one refers to telemetry when running used or new prime tyres. However, to the right of these, you can notice 140kg as the amount of fuel in both runs, although you’ll need good eyesight to see it.

From this, Red Bull should be worried. If McLaren can win practice sessions with a race fuel load on board, then they should be the biggest contender to them this year.

McLaren’s rear wing declared legal

McLaren's rear wing design

McLaren's rear wing design

McLaren’s controversial rear wing on their MP4-25 has been declared legal by the FIA, after inspections today.

The controversy surounded a hole or slot just above the driver’s head, which fed air away from the back of the car, to stall the rear wing. The initial appearance of the slot was for oil cooling, but this has since been proved wrong by this investigation.

Ferrari and Red Bull were the teams who, rather than complained, simply wanted clarification over the issue.

Unlike last year, this problem has been dealt with quickly and professionally, and it’s great to see these sort of decisions speeded up. The double-decker diffuser issue still hasn’t left F1, so hopefully this will be the end of the news about this new innovation.

McLaren rear wing to be inspected

The slot and rear wing desing of the McLaren MP4-25

The slot and rear wing desing of the McLaren MP4-25

McLaren’s MP4-25 rear wing is to be inspected in Bahrain, following concerns from Red Bull and Ferrari over its legality.

While Ferrari have since been less concerned about the issue, they and Red Bull have asked Charlie Whiting, FIA race director, to closely inspect the rear wing. Christian Horner in particular has seeked clarification over the concept of McLaren’s rear wing.

The issue deals with a slot just above the driver helmet. It feeds air away from the rear wing, which “stalls” the wing at high speed. It reduces drag and still increases downforce. It is believed that the McLaren in faster in a straight line by 6mph because of this innovation.

While McLaren have already invited Charlie Whiting to inspect the innovation, his flight from South America was heavily delayed, so he cancelled the trip to Woking. The car will instead be examined at Bahrain this weekend.

Although Christian Horner is still asking the FIA for clarification, he still believes the innovation is legal:

“There’s a bit of a fuss over McLaren’s rear wing. They have a slot
on it and can pick up a lot of straight-line speed. Basically, if you
stall the wing you take all the drag off it and pick up straight-line
speed. It’s something that’s been done quite a lot over the years,
but with the wing separators you’re not supposed to do that.

I think it will get resolved before the first race. We’ve asked the
FIA for clarification, although I think Ferrari are probably more
excited than we are to be honest. Our question ultimately will be,
‘Is it clever design or is it in breach of the regulations?’ They
must be very confident that it’s legal. I would think it will be
legal.”

McLaren is much less worried about their design, with Martin Whitmarsh saying:

"The wing is different and innovative, yes. But we have been in
contact with Charlie over a period of several months to check that it
complies with regulations. We have been assured that it does."

It’s unclear how important this design is to McLaren’s car, but rest assured that they won’t be winning races any time soon if it’s declared illegal. If it is legal, which it probably is, then we may see another scramble, like last year, with all the teams trying to copy the design.

As I said when the cars were launched, I’m more worried about the diffuser design than this. Still, this design seems to be legal, so we might see another development battle.

Ferrari already designing B-Spec car because of diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

McLaren's already controversial diffuser

After McLaren’s controversial diffuser, there are rumours that Ferrari are already working on a “B-spec” version of their car, because of its lack of an “extreme” diffuser.

When McLaren released their MP4-25 last week, their diffuser was blocked away from view. Paddy Lowe described their diffuser as “extreme”.

Ferrari were already doubtful about their car, with Fernando Alonso saying he did not expect titles immidiately. Now though, the Italian media are reporting that the Scuderia have already started redesigning the entire rear package of their car, to improve their diffuser.

Ferrari are hoping that the FIA declare McLaren’s diffuser illegal (even though nobody has even seen it!), while Mclaren feel that there is no need for an argument, even though they believe they have pushed the rules to the limit.

Suddenly, this might make February testing literally pointless for many teams. If McLaren’s diffuser is as good as they say it will be, the other teams will be playing catch-up for weeks.

Yet another diffuser row?

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

McLaren's diffuser was blocked away

The prospect of another diffuser row boiling up again appears to have come back, with many teams pursuing “extreme” solutions.

At the launch of the McLaren MP4-25 today, McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe said the team had had pushed the diffuser regulations as far as possible. Not only this, but he believes that other teams will go for extreme solutions. He said:

“This is the first car in which we have had a clean sheet of paper to really exploit the interpretation [of diffusers] that was developed last year for a design of floors,” said Lowe.

“You will see we have produced a fairly extreme incarnation of that but we won’t be alone in that. We believe you will see some pretty extreme solutions on our competitors’ cars as well.”

The writing on the wall comes from the fact that, when the MP4-25 was launched today, the diffuser was blocked from view with black boards. However, Lowe believes there is no rule infringement, saying:

“We think the interpretation is very clear,” he said. “In certain aspects we have sought guidance from the FIA and they have come out with very clear interpretation, understanding and guidance – and we think that has been made available to all the teams.”

“We are hoping for a much cleaner start to the season then we had a year ago in terms of the teams’ collective understanding of the basis from which we go racing.”

Ferrari, however, say differently. Aldo Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport:

“We were and still are convinced that the double diffuser concept was illegal. We feel there may still be interpretation over this, as the rules leave the door open to many possibilities. It’s up to the FIA to supervise, but we are rather worried.”

This sort of thing coming up again would just be a disaster. The double-decker diffuser row last year put so much doubt into people’s minds and, as Fernando Alonso predicted, decided the outcome of the championship. Hopefuly, the FIA have learnt their lessons from last year, and hopefully the teams won’t have been too radical with this year’s design.

McLaren MP4-25 launched (pictures)

The new McLaren MP4-25

The new McLaren MP4-25

McLaren’s new MP4-25 was released today, though some picture were leaked early online.

At the launch in Newbury, Lewis Hamilton was joined by new team-mate Jenson Button.

The most striking part of the new car is the shark fin engine cover. The red stripe on it looks brilliant! Otherwise, the wheelbase has been largely lengthened, with the driver area moved forward to accomodate this. The bargeboards are now shorter, with a higher angle of attack.

The front wing has many new sections, including a completely revised bridge wing. The endplates are also heavily changes, with two main vertical sections. Also, the front wing is higher, wider and more flat.

To be honest, I think it’s much vetter looking than last year’s car. I’m dissapointed that the paint scheme is nearly exactly the same, as I would have loved them to revert to their traditional black, or even orange!

F1 Fanatic have done some great pictures comparing the McLaren and the Ferrari, and the McLaren against last year’s car.

Here is a part of the launch (I didn’t include the full launch, it was just talk!):

More pictures from the launch:

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