Silverstone, UK – McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has refuted claims that photographs of a Red Bull car suspended in the air in Monaco, exposing its undercarriage, influenced McLaren’s recent upgrades.
Earlier this season, Sergio Perez’s car was lifted by a crane, inadvertently unveiling the intricate details and potential secrets of Formula 1’s most successful machine.
During the British Formula 1 Grand Prix, McLaren made a significant impact in qualifying, with Lando Norris securing a front-row position in an upgraded car that Mercedes suggested bore resemblance to the Red Bull.
McLaren breaks silence on claims
Stella addressed the speculations surrounding McLaren’s developments, stating, “I’m confident that all the teams draw inspiration from observing the Red Bull car,” referring to Red Bull’s recent unveiling a few weeks ago.
He added, “Teams constantly seek inspiration from photos of other cars. Most teams have professional photographers who capture as much as they can. It serves as inspiration, but it would be unfair to suggest that we have seen something and now have the solution.”
Stella: ‘All our own work’
Acknowledging that teams take note of other cars’ designs, Stella emphasized the importance of conducting their own work and iteration. Simply observing a concept does not guarantee success; each team must put in the effort to create a design that suits their requirements and proves effective.
“[ ]…you have to do your own job and your own iteration, otherwise you don’t get to something that actually works.” says Stella.
Mercedes & Hamilton point finger
Lewis Hamilton, commenting on McLaren’s upgrades, remarked, “If you put it next to a Red Bull, it looks remarkably similar on the side, so it’s clearly working.”
In response, Stella clarified, “Teams [ ]… draw inspiration from one another.”
However, he stressed that drawing inspiration or examining photographs does not equate to replicating geometries or incorporating them directly into computer simulations, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) runs, or wind tunnel testing. Stella emphasized that cars do not automatically gain downforce from copying concepts.
” …[it] doesn’t mean that you copy the geometry, you install it in your CFD runs, in the computer simulation, or in a wind tunnel, and the car lights up in terms of downforce,” clarifies Stella.
Typically, the downforce of a car decreases when incorporating a new concept, as the car is already optimized based on prior development, and Stella confirms this saying: “Normally what happens is it goes down because your car is already optimised around what you have done up until that point.
“The key element is understanding that some concepts add more potential that will allow you to develop faster.
“Here is where you need to have the right people in the right place,”
Stella: McLaren design team doing wonders
The key lies in understanding which concepts possess greater potential for faster development, necessitating the presence of capable individuals in appropriate roles.
Peter Prodromou, McLaren’s Head of Aerodynamic Development, received praise for his exceptional work in setting the conceptual direction and fostering inspiration within the aerodynamics group.
“Peter Prodromou is leading the aerodynamic development at McLaren and is doing an exceptional job in terms of setting the conceptual direction but also having organised and inspired the entire aerodynamic group,” concludes Stella.