There were many doubts in relation to how he would face McLaren the great challenge of introducing his new Mercedes engine into his 2020 car. But judging by what was seen in the tests, the English team did a thousand wonders. And not only that. McLaren, at a difficult time for everyone, with a regulation change for this year that affected the flat bottom and diffuser, and with a regulation that allowed very limited modifications to the car, in addition to having to start creating the important car now from 2022, a huge rabbit was pulled out of the hat, presenting the innovation that has surprised the most in the F1 2021 preseason tests.
The regulatory changes that affect the diffuser and the flat bottom, made this year’s cars lose 10% of their aerodynamic grip from last season. However, McLaren could have lost less load than the rest (and therefore lost less speed around the corner) through a surprising rule interpretation. In Woking, with the expert engineer James Key, one of the best on the grill, presented a new diffuser that surprised everyone by being very different from the rest of the competitors. All this, after finding and squeezing to the maximum a gap in the new regulation that limits the height of the dividing sheets of this element, reducing them by about 50 mm.
Faced with these regulations, McLaren placed said sheets with a final cut diagonally instead of vertically, something that allows it to be totally legal and, in turn, be able to reduce the loss of load that the regulations intended to achieve.
This, together with the great performance of the McLaren team in the tests, in which they were able to fulfill their program without having any reliability failure despite having a new Mercedes engine, makes many place the. Woking’s box as the third force of the ‘Great Circus’ for this season behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
“I think we will be in the same fight as last year”
However, in McLaren, as has been the case in recent seasons, prefer to lower expectations and keep a low profile until the start of the season. F1 World (from March 26 to 28 in Bahrain).
“We must not forget that with our new partner Mercedes, we will have to go through a lot of situations for the first time under real pressure, with qualifying and the race, which are challenging. But seeing how the last month has gone, I am very happy with what this team has done ”, commented the team director, the German Andreas Seidl.
“It is difficult to know exactly the order of the grid. We can expect an incredibly tight battle again between the usual suspects. I think we will be in the same fight as last year “he commented, not wanting to reveal anything about the actual performance of his car, as all sets do at this time.