McLaren’s technical director James Key praised the relationship with his new engine supplier Mercedes and also revealed how changes are progressing on the new car due to the new powertrain and how they stand with the development of aerodynamics with the new rules.
After three years with Honda and three years with Renault, McLaren is returning to the Mercedes engines they used in the first year of the hybrid turbo era, and in 2020 they finished in third place which is their best placement since 2012 when they also finished third.
Cars will be similar to last year's
The cars will be very similar to last year's because they have to use the same chassis, and the set of areas where teams are allowed to develop cars is limited, which is why all teams are awarded two development tokens.
McLaren will have to spend their tokens to adapt last year’s chassis to the new engine, which requires a new gearbox and different receptacles on the engine chassis, but they believe the best drive unit in Formula 1 will bring them multiple benefits.
“We’re doing well, at least I think,” Key told F1 Nation. "We are where we would expect to be at this time of year despite the obvious delays we had earlier this year." "In a normal situation, we would like to start development earlier than we did, but we couldn't.
But I think we caught the connection well. ” “The interaction with Mercedes was fantastic, they were a great support to us and they recognized the fact that we have such a narrow time frame. We have been working with them very effectively in recent months.
” "I think we're where we expected to be when it comes to installing engines and parts we're already making." The new rules for 2021 include narrower floor dimensions in front of the rear wheels and shorter diffuser bulkheads that should bring about a 10% reduction in downforce levels ahead of a major change to the 2022 rule change that will bring much greater downforce losses to have better racing.
“We’re still working on it even though the full rules for 2021 came pretty late,” commented Key McLaren’s progress with a new car to be called the MCL35M. “We’re bringing back the downforce a bit, it was a pretty big hit in the beginning.
The changes to the sides of the floor will be pretty obvious on 2021 cars, as well as the small diffuser, rear brake cooling suction cups - all of which affect the complex aerodynamics around the rear tires and we try to restore performance as best we can.
” "We're making progress from week to week, but we still have more work to do." In addition to Mercedes engines, McLaren has stepped up with Daniel Ricciardo for 2021 and now the team has a multiple F1 race winner again after two seasons.