While the McLaren team already faces a big challenge in 2021 to perfectly integrate the Mercedes engine into the MCL35M’s chassis that they will use this season in F1, the Woking team have also started (like all other teams ) to work on his 2022 single-seater.
As of January 1, 2021, all the teams on the grid are allowed to use the wind tunnel to start developing aerodynamic parts that will be used on their single-seater for the 2022 season when the new technical regulations are introduced in Formula 1.
McLaren therefore started this development work in its wind tunnel earlier this month and has already manufactured “A huge amount of coins”.
” We were able to get started with the 2022 car wind tunnel program, which began earlier this month when the aerodynamic development freeze was lifted. “ explains Piers Thynne, production manager at McLaren.
“We made a huge amount of parts to support the start of this program. As for the actual production of the car in 2022, these are the very early days and the focus is mainly on the parts to be tested in the wind tunnel. “
” As the aerodynamic design matures, we will be manufacturing more and more aerodynamic components for wind tunnel testing. “
“These tests are really important: it’s about figuring out what works and what doesn’t, because when we come down to building the car of 2022, we want it to be right the first time. “
“Testing has to push the limits of aerodynamics, because that’s how you gain performance. “
“If they work, so much the better. If not, we can always take a step back for the actual production part. You have to aim for the stars and that’s exactly what we’re doing to get back to the top of the grid. “
But before 2022 there will obviously be the 2021 season to play, and even if the regulations have changed very little this year compared to last season, all teams must design their single-seater with a cost ceiling introduced as of this date. season in Formula 1.
Piers Thynne explains how McLaren must find a real compromise between cost and performance in the development of the MCL35M for this 2021 season.
” There are some significant carry over elements (from the 2020 season) when we get into the cost cap. The FIA has created a list of Transitional Transfer Components (TCOs) that are outside of this year’s cost cap. “
“These are parts that can be used in 2021 if they worked on last year’s car. We have taken these TCO regulations to the absolute maximum to allow us to defer as much as possible, such as gearbox internals and some suspension components, and therefore not having to use part of our 2021 budget for their design. and their production. “
” F1 has always consisted of working under a set of constraints, whether they be technical constraints, deadlines or costs. “
“Having said that, the nature of the new cost constraints is quite different from what we’ve seen before. This will require a slight change in approach as there is a real trade-off between cost and performance. Yes, you have to stay within the cost cap, but you have to do it without losing performance. “
” You can’t just make a cheaper car. If you do, you’ll make a slower car. “
“You have to look at the problem holistically to improve efficiency in all areas, but not at the expense of the performance of the car. “
“I don’t think you’re going to see which teams will really master this approach until next year, because TCO regulations have skewed the picture for 2021. The real test will come with the design and manufacture of the car 2022. “
Successful crash test for the MCL35M
Due to its change of engine manufacturer during the winter (switch from the Renault engine to the Mercedes V6 unit), McLaren was the only team on the grid to have to pass a crash test to homologate its new chassis this year.
This crash test took place in December under somewhat specific conditions since the members of the FIA were not physically present due to the health crisis. Cameras and sensors installed in the room therefore enabled the FIA to validate this crash test remotely.