McLaren should top speed traps

Back in 2014 McLaren poached Peter Prodromou from Red Bull. ‘Prod’ worked very closely with Adrian Newey during the dominant years of Red Bull Racing as head of aero so it was quite a catch for Mclaren to swipe Ade’s apprentice particularly during the period where Newey had wound down his involvement in F1 to start drawing boats (Americas Cup to be precise). For 2014 the McLaren Mercedes appeared in testing with a Red Bull front wing clearly showing Peter’s influence straight away.

Indeed by the time we saw the fully ‘Prodded’ McLaren Honda in 2015 with it’s ‘size zero’ concept back end, it was obvious it was an even more under powered Red Bull judging by the wings, coke bottle rear and the cars extreme rake angle. All hallmarks of the Red Bull.

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But could this tactic by McLaren be in fact hurting their chances? Yes Williams and Force India have Mercedes power but they’ve always traditionally run with a low downforce, slippery car thus giving themselves a shot of at least a podium if not a race win at certain tracks, most notably the coming races in Austria and Great Britain. It is understood that the Honda Power Unit isn’t as powerful as the Mercedes but is it really that down on BHP this season?

Chief of Engine design at Honda, Yusuke Hasegawa confirmed at the weekend that McLaren should top the speed traps this year saying “the car has more downforce this year, if McLaren had the same wing setting like the other teams, we would be top.” when asked by if their low speed trap speed was the engine or the car’s fault.

Maybe it’s good in the long term to work on a platform that can be developed evenly to excel at any circuit type but perhaps McLaren have missed out on championship points by not dropping their downforce obsession. By concentrating on an aspect which is now really just a throw back to an earlier aero dominated period, they could’ve scored better points this season and not left two ex World Champs scratching around behind the top ten for another year. Probably their last year in F1 in fact.


8 responses to “McLaren should top speed traps

  1. “If McLaren had the same wing setting like the other teams, we would be top”… So the Honda is actually not the least powerful engine, but is instead the MOST powerful engine on the grid…. Is anyone buying this?

    • I think the underlying implication is more interesting than the power figures.

      Isn’t this Honda saying that it is not their fault that the MP4-31 is so slow? They’re being very polite about it though.

      • Yep it’s particularly interesting given that the drivers and team have repeatedly blamed the engine… Someone – me thinks – is telling porkies…

  2. The weekend break has brought about a fresh thought on the Honda situation and this obsession of a tight car has suddenly become clear.
    Looking back at the Honda developed systems lead me to some out of box thinking and then POW!! It hit me…. with its size,the car was developed for a small driver or Asimo will be in the next driver line up.×878/f60ac3d65e647ce153eb7e94f05bf350/00-asimo.jpg

  3. So they have a ‘Red Bull’ chassis with an engine which is better then Mercedes? And two WDC’s?

    Strange story.

  4. ” Probably their last year in F1 in fact.”

    For Jensen, maybe, but rumor has it he’ll end up back at Williams (full circle). Not for Fernando. Not sure where you’re getting the “probably their last year” from. /\_0___o_/\

  5. Another thought:
    Could it be that McLaren is secretely closer to next years rules than it appears? That they’re building an advantage while nobody sees it?

    (I know, nothing stays hidden in F1, but this might be a moment to be extra clever. And just makin’ conversation here :-))

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