MCL32 Analysis brought to you by TJ13 Forensics contributer Joao Lamberio
McLaren unveiled their charger for 2017 with a great deal of fanfare and tumultuous change. New rules, hope, livery, engine, boss and a new car.
Can McLaren finally rekindle their lost former glories with the newly nomenclatured MCL32?
Uniquely, the nose of the car has 4 serrated pillars which guide airflow to the splitter, which has been shortened by 100mm for 2017. The guided airflow creates a balance between front and rear downforce of the floor of the car, itself raked steeply in similar vein to Red Bull. Prodromou, an ex Red Bull / Adrian Newey protege left for McLaren in 2014 so no surprises to see this ideology continued.
The serrated theme continues for the MCL32, with the rear wing endplates and floor receiving the same treatment. Dealing with all the dirty air from the tyres as well as conditioned flow from the front of the car, it’s a very complex arrangement that is all to do with tidying up the flow of air in as efficient a manner as possible.
The bargeboard is another area where many teams have invested heavily in, and McLaren are no exception. The area is critical to energise the flow of air around the car, with McLaren’s version being visibly larger than the competition.
Plenty of detail has gone into the front wing, which is an evolved version of 2016’s to fit 2017 regulations.
The Honda engine is almost completely all new, and no stone has been left unturned in the search for more firepower. Risky, given their previous form. Yusuke Hasegawa admits it’s a high risk design, and if testing from is anything to go by, Honda and McLaren are in trouble early doors.
We are already hearing Eric Boullier speaking of “maximum pressure” on the relationship, with the car suffering a number of ignominious issues from electrical, right down to oil tank shape. It’s testing, these things happen. But both parties are within a hairs breadth of invoking the others ire.
With the amount of change McLaren have undertaken over the last 3 years, would changing an engine supplier be another to contemplate this very season?
Losing Mercedes, title sponsors, Hamilton, Martin Whitmarsh, Ron Dennis, Paddy Lowe, Jenson Button along with high tier prize funds, can McLaren afford not be with Honda in 2017?
£80 million plus free engines is an offer McLaren couldn’t refuse.
With a car that looks well developed, the lure of paying for a power unit may be too hard to resist. Mercedes would flat out deny a competitor their wares, regardless of their previous relationship. Ferrari would baulk for the same reason, but McLaren-Ferrari has a devilish ring to it. Renault however, may just be up McLaren’s street should Honda find themselves surplus to requirements.
How would a Renault powered Honda fair?
Interesting times at Woking!