McLaren Falls Short of Its Ambitions with the MCL60 F1 Car

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In a recent turn of events at the Singapore Grand Prix, the McLaren Formula 1 team displayed impressive performance with Lando Norris securing a solid second-place finish, trailing only behind the triumphant Carlos Sainz of Ferrari. However, despite the podium success at the challenging Marina Bay circuit, McLaren is acutely aware that they haven’t yet reached the lofty goals they set for their 2023 MCL60 race car.

What makes this performance particularly encouraging is that the Marina Bay circuit was not expected to favor McLaren’s 2023 MCL60 package. Yet, a series of upgrades aimed at enhancing low-speed performance appear to have paid dividends, building on the progress the team initiated at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as Lando Norris himself admitted that there are inherent characteristics in the car that he’s not entirely pleased with. Team principal Andrea Stella concurs, emphasizing that there’s a lot more work to be done to unlock the full potential of the MCL60.

Stella noted, “I think we have gained a good understanding of where the limitations in low speed are coming from. They have to do with some mechanical aspects and some aerodynamic aspects.”

On the aerodynamic side, the upgrades in Singapore have certainly addressed some of these limitations, but Stella goes on to say, “Actually, there’s still quite a lot of work to do. I will say that from the car we had in Bahrain, with the improvement in Baku, then in Austria, and then here, we haven’t even achieved 50% of where we would like the aerodynamic behavior to be to solve these sorts of issues.”

So, what’s the plan moving forward? Stella hints at an exciting journey ahead, stating, “I think what is good is that now we have an understanding of what to tackle. But this requires some more work. And it should be embedded into next year’s car. Again, not 100%, because it will be a bit of a journey.”

In essence, McLaren’s journey toward F1 glory is far from over. They’ve made strides in improving their car’s performance, but they recognize that reaching their desired aerodynamic behavior is a complex puzzle that will take time to solve.

The Evolution of the McLaren MCL60 in Singapore

The upgrades seen on McLaren’s MCL60 during the Singapore Grand Prix continue a trend that started back at the Azerbaijan GP. The team undertook a comprehensive transformation of virtually every aspect of their race car, from front to back.

One of the key changes was to the front wing, particularly focusing on the endplate. The entire surface of the endplate has been twisted from the centerline to encourage more outwash, providing additional real estate for the diveplane. Subtle geometrical adjustments to the trailing edge of the endplate and the lower flap juncture were made to enhance aerodynamics.

Beneath the car, the floor received significant attention, although many of these changes are hidden from plain view. However, external alterations to various features offer clues about what might have been adjusted.

At the front of the floor assembly, changes were made to the fence setup. The inboard fence, which used to extend over the leading edge of the floor, has been reduced in height. The outermost fence has undergone a complete overhaul, along with the forward portion of the floor where it slopes downward. These changes impact the flow structures both above and below the floor line.

Connected to these adjustments and those made to the sidepod, McLaren refined the contours of the floor and edge wing downstream. These modifications affect the flow structures above and below the floor, creating a complex interplay of aerodynamics.

The edge wing also saw modifications with a flattened forward section and reprofiled strakes. It was also extended into the rear section of the floor. McLaren has been evolving its sidepods throughout the season, and while not an entirely new concept, significant changes were made in Singapore to improve airflow conditions and refine topology.

The halo fairing and associated aerodynamic elements were revised, along with adjustments to the rear brake duct and toelink fairing. These changes aimed to better interact with the alterations made elsewhere in the car.

McLaren’s switch to a semi-detached rear wing tip section was also updated to work in conjunction with a higher downforce configuration. This change not only provides aerodynamic support but also alters the vortex formation at the wing’s tip.

Both drivers had access to this new rear wing for qualifying and the race, along with a new beam wing configuration that placed more load on the lower element. These adjustments reflect McLaren’s commitment to continuous development and fine-tuning, demonstrating their determination to unlock the full potential of the MCL60.

In conclusion, McLaren’s journey to maximize the performance of the MCL60 continues, with each race bringing new upgrades and refinements. The team’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of aerodynamics and performance is a testament to their ambition and commitment to success in Formula 1.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Aerodynamic Upgrades

What were the key highlights of McLaren’s performance at the Singapore Grand Prix?

McLaren’s performance at the Singapore Grand Prix was marked by a strong second-place finish for Lando Norris, showcasing their progress in the 2023 season.

What made McLaren’s performance in Singapore particularly encouraging?

The encouraging aspect was that the Marina Bay circuit wasn’t expected to favor McLaren’s 2023 MCL60 package, making their podium finish even more noteworthy.

What were the areas of improvement identified by the team principal, Andrea Stella?

Andrea Stella mentioned that there were limitations in low-speed performance due to both mechanical and aerodynamic aspects. While some progress was made with aerodynamic upgrades, there’s still substantial work ahead.

How much progress has McLaren made in achieving their desired aerodynamic behavior?

McLaren hasn’t yet achieved even 50% of their target for ideal aerodynamic behavior in the MCL60. They’ve made incremental improvements but acknowledge that more work is needed.

What’s the plan for addressing these issues in the future?

The team plans to embed further improvements into next year’s car. However, it’s a journey that won’t reach 100% completion, emphasizing the complexity of Formula 1 development.

What were some of the key upgrades made to the McLaren MCL60 in Singapore?

Upgrades to the MCL60 in Singapore included changes to the front wing, floor, and sidepod. These changes aimed to improve aerodynamics and overall performance.

How did McLaren modify the front wing for better aerodynamics?

The front wing’s endplate was twisted to encourage more outwash, providing additional real estate for the diveplane. Subtle geometrical adjustments were made to enhance performance.

What changes were made to the MCL60’s floor in Singapore?

The floor received considerable attention, with changes to the fence setup, alterations to the contours, and adjustments to the edge wing downstream. These changes impacted flow structures both above and below the floor.

What were the goals of modifying the sidepods on the MCL60?

The sidepods were refined to improve flow conditions into and beyond the inlet, and changes to the gullied/waterslide-style sidepods aimed to enhance airflow along the central channel.

Were there other modifications made to the car’s aerodynamics in Singapore?

Yes, several other modifications were made, including revisions to the halo fairing, rear brake duct, toelink fairing, and the rear wing tip section. These changes were designed to work in harmony with the car’s overall aerodynamics.

More about Aerodynamic Upgrades

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1 comment

TechGeek82 September 21, 2023 - 5:26 am

Aerodynamic upgrades, got it. MCL60 gettin’ better!


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