McLaren MP-31 will be 3s a lap quicker whilst retaining the ‘size zero’ philosophy


When the RB10 first rolled out of the garage in Jerez in 2014, it quickly became evident that not only were there problems with the Renault power unit, but the Adrian Newey no compromise style of packaging housing the motor was problematic. Over the season, the car RB10 evolved with a more generous engine housing space and the result was PU fires decreased. This chassis/power unit combo went on to win three races that year.

One year on, McLaren appeared on the Iberian peninsula with a no compromise ‘size zero’ aero packaging along with their new partner Honda. The Japanese manufacturer had similar overheating problems to those Red Bull suffered with their Renault engine the previous year. This led to talk that McLaren would also have to change their car design philosophy as Red Bull did, however to date, no significant change in the MP4-30 was evident.

Fernando Alonso recently claimed that the Woking team would deliver around 2.5 seconds of lap time improvement this winter. Though F1 observers felt it may require McLaren to compromise their car design to accommodate Honda as did Red Bull Racing.

Eric Boullier, McLaren’s team principal in all but name, was questioned over Alonso’s bold claims and told Czech portal F1 News: “Nothing is for sure or guaranteed. But we know why we were not competitive this year. This new PU technology is great, but needs to mature. When you are unable to deploy electrical power throughout the lap, you lose seconds rather than tenths.

“So if we can fix this issue, along with a few others, we will be able to recover a couple of seconds in terms of performance.”

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