McLaren MP4-26

McLaren aim for 2010 downforce level on new car

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren MP4-26
McLaren MP4-26

McLaren say their target for the 2011 was to get 2010 levels of downforce without using the now-banned double diffuser.

They have tried to do that using what director of engineering Tim Goss describes as two “novel features”: a longer wheelbase and the car’s distinctive U-shaped sidepods:

“The thinking behind that is to feed as much good-quality air as possible to the rear-lower mainplane and the floor of the car.

“We want to get the rear-end working as well as possible following the loss of performance caused by the banning of the double-diffuser.”

However the team admitted there was already more in the pipeline for the car, indicating a different exhaust system.

Goss also gave an insight into the challenge posed by the new Pirelli tyres:

“The tyres only last for around ten laps, and making them last longer is quite a challenge. So we need to look closely at how we configure the set-up and suspension to make the tyres last.”

Another new item on the car for 2011 is KERS, which is being used for the first time in a car with a larger fuel tank sue to the refuelling tank.

Goss described how the system is installed: “The system was also more difficult to package because you?ve got to carry more fuel. That was the first challenge, but we got through that.

“There were a few difficult decisions concerning architecture around different aerodynamic concepts, but I think we ended up with a design layout we?re happy with.

“KERS is now a single integrated unit that sits within the survival cell, beneath the fuel-tank. In 2009, it was housed in the sidepods. The hybrid?s cooling intake sits directly below the main roll-hoop intake.

“And, once again, we?ve really pushed the car?s cooling configuration: we?ve got a second air intake on the engine cover for gearbox and hydraulic cooling.??

See more pictures of the McLaren MP4-26 here:

83 comments on “McLaren aim for 2010 downforce level on new car”

  1. “Another new item on the car for 2011 is KERS, which is being used for the first time in a car with a larger fuel tank sue to the refuelling tank.”

    This is probably supposed to say “due to the refuelling ban”…though it might be something else entirely.

  2. I hope it works for them. Would be good to see someone else than RB being the fastest car again.

    1. @ BasCB

      I disagree with you hoping for McLaren to have the fastest car this season. The reasoning behind it is because they’ve had the fastest car in the following years:


      Compare that with Red Bull who’ve had only a fast car for a season & a half. I think they deserve to have the fastest car this season & next too.

      1. Indeed. A team other than McLaren or Ferrari. PLEASE.
        Why are so many people so annoyed by the RB being the fastest??

      2. Are you two some kind of comedy double act? It’s hilarious ;)

        1. LOL, I dont get this, maybe BasCB has dissociative identity disorder or something :) Its really funny though ;)

      3. In which case Aston Villa probably deserve to win the Premiership – because Man U, Chelsea and the other big teams always win it!

        1. kenneth Ntulume
          5th February 2011, 9:53

          ahahahaha madbikerbob Aston villa!!!!!!!! Winning,
          BUT if they do its good for the sport…..always a sport gains when a new kid comes on the block, Remember what happened, when Alonso Overturned Schumacher dominance, or what Ham did to Alonso in his rookie year, or that moment when that young man i cant remember now, :-) got pole in Brazil 2010….
          Sport always loves those moments…..
          as they say its not news if DOG bites MAN, BUT IF MAN bites DOG…..U bet…for aguments sake imagine what would happen if Virgin got pole in Bahrain……

          1. Hulkenberg is his name Ken ..

      4. Looks like BasCB has a cyber stalker.

        1. @Neil Davies

          It looks like it. Or maybe it’s the same guy with split personality.
          Anyone here wants to double act with me?

          Anyway, on topic, It’s ok having many teams with a fast car but i have to admit Red Bull really had too much of a cocky attitude lately. But hey, we can put up with Ferrari that they made a profession out of being cocky, so i guess we can handle a few new guys getting in-frond and acting cocky.

          1. Why do You think RB is acting cocky?

        2. MagillaGorilla
          5th February 2011, 1:48

          That’s exactly what I said the other day too, I don’t know if he’s just trolling/joking with us or if unipart really does follow they guy. either way I’m not the only one to notice I suppose…

      5. disagree with 1990 and 2007 as the ferraris of both years were most often faster they just suffered from reliability more than the mclarens

  3. Agreed, however I do think that the Red Bull will still be blindingly quick.

    1. From this Valencia test, its safe to assume that the car’s do not have the same downforce levels of last year. The times were 2 secs slower than the previous year’s test on the same circuit. If Mclaren thinks they have achieved last years downforce levels with a single diffuser, then they are definitely the team to beat. But you are right Red Bull will be up there as well. Unfortunately, I think Ferrari will be lagging behind.

      1. The tyres alone are about a second slower.

      2. This car just looks like the fastest car ever. Unfortunately, because I don’t like them. I’ve been trying to figure out how it will fail, but I just can’t see how. I would be very surprised if this MP4-26 will take Hamilton or Button to the title.

        1. You have to respect Mclaren for doing something new, rather than just following Red Bull.

      3. I would be so happy if Ferrari were behind. I’ve read previous comments about Mclaren winning so many more time that RedBull but be honest Ferrari and Schumacher almost single handedly killed the earlier 2000’s. I’m a die hard F1 fan but i was so bored in them times. I think Red Bull are ok, Ferrari and their fans need to lick there wounds and deal with not winning for once. They just can’t handle that the MP4-26 is a radical change from last years car. The Tisfosi are worried. Only a Newey designed car might have a chance at beating Mclaren. Ferrari have been far to conservative for their 2011 car

  4. I thought this was an interesting comment from:

    Paddy Lowe: Getting KERS back on the car was a big task. Collaborating with Mercedes GP to define the specification for Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines was very satisfying: there was great collaboration and cooperation between us. There can be lots of difficulties finding alignment between two teams, but I’m pleased with how we made it happen and very happy with the outcome.

  5. McLaren car has very few sponsors’ stickers on their car… where are they ?? as far as I know they continued their collaboration with all of the 2010’s car sponsors

    1. They have the same sponsors on their 2011 clothing collection which says “2011 sponsors to be applied”. I expect they will be announcing a few more before Bahrain.

      1. I want a t-shirt with “2011 sponsors to be applied” on it. :)

  6. Moving the KERS beneath the fuel tank and inside the safety cell is a much better idea than putting it in the side pods. Closer to the cars centre of gravity which should make weight distribution of the car easier and overall stability much higher. Something they really struggled with at the beginning of ’09.

    Overall I’m a big fan of the design, it looks very aggressive and the side-pods are just, wow. Apparently the majority of the chassis and engine on the launch model were made out of plastic and the actual parts are still in hiding at the Technology Centre. One thing that will definitely change is the exhaust system as they are rumoured to have a similar system to Red Bull.

    I’m obviously biased but I do hope the car is the pace-setter next season.

    1. Yep, I fell for the old “I cant believe they are letting everyone get a good look at the internals” as the link was a little jumpy on my connection.

      I fully expect them to have a trick exhaust system, but I am really excited about the car.

      Lets hope its as good on the track….. :-)

    2. The new aerodynamic shape changes they applied seem awesome to me but i am a little preoccupied with that huge wheelbase. Why so loooong?

      Because of that wheelbase they had problems in Monaco(same reason Renault was good there) and Hungary last year. It’s not good for small twisty tracks.
      Ok 3-4 tracks don’t make the championship and now we have many huge Tilkedroms but still, what about slow corners? That wheelbase can’t be helping in those.

      1. Ferrari showed for many years that a longer wheelbase car works well. You can’t design your car around Monaco. There’s no other circuit like it.

        1. McLarenFanJamm
          4th February 2011, 22:42

          McLaren spent years building cars that are good around Monaco, purely so they could say they won the seasons stellar event. It’s about time they built a car that actually has a chance of winning both championships.

    3. just, wow.

      I think that’s the perfect quote to describe the Mclaren… Just wow.

      I hope it does well, shake F1 up a bit.

  7. bleeps_and_tweaks
    4th February 2011, 15:50

    I for one think the car looks stunning. Only time will tell if that sculpted engine cover and the U shaped sidepods will deliver the flow and downforce levels they’re claiming. I think the front wing looks by far the most aggressive of the new cars, and I would expect this, and the relatively plain looking diffuser will get a lot of updates over the next 6-8 weeks. Looking at the sidepods though, I would say it’s pretty unlikely that McLaren will try out the Renault style front exit exhausts.

    1. The front wing is old, not new.

    2. That “U”-shape is perfectly make for a front exhaust exit tbh

  8. Dissapointment after dissapointment is all I can say about every 2011 Formula One launch until today. Finally something new and very different is the Berlin release of the F1 McLaren. This car looks great and seems fresh with new ideas and kudos to the team for the way they released it.

  9. FINALLY some innovation in the 2011 cars! Only Renault and McLaren seem to be innovating this year.

    1. There’s really no telling how innovative cars are until they hit Q1-2-3 and the race at Bahrain.

    2. have yous een the rear end on the williams…? if that isn’t innovating, I don’t know what is

      1. Agree with you the other cars are innovative, particularly Williams and Renault, but the others teams have all done a similar thing until now (a tight back end to maximise the air flow to the rear), it is the same concept….

        The fact that the rest have done the same thing with the back end will either mean, Mclaren are off the pace or pace setters.

        I fail to see how, with such a different design they will chance on the same level of performance (although you never know), as I said before more likely boom or bust with this dramatically different concept.

    3. Often the best innovations are the ones worth keeping secret…so wait until we get to bahrain then you will see which cars have been the most innovative. Also, innovations dont always mean faster cars!

      1. The Williams “walrus” nose springs to mind!

        1. Yes I was thinking that this is the first really “wow” distinctive car since the Walrus and we all know how that turned out…

        2. SennaNmbr1 (@)
          5th February 2011, 11:11

          Lots of cars these days have a wide, flat nose. Perhaps not as dramatic as that Williams, but kinds of a compromise between that and a “normal” high nose.

  10. Was thinking about the KERS discussion earlier and wondered whether the way that it is being used now is actually the most beneficial. If you could feed the power back in to the drive-train continuously would you not get a fuel weight benefit? Would this be of greater advantage than the bursts of speed, especially given that this is already helped in certain circumstances by the rear wing?

    I’m not an engineer – but it would be a truer hybrid if it worked and then teams with more efficient energy recovery would benefit through reduced weight during the race. Of course the system may counteract that benefit, but I wouldn’t of thought it was much heavier than the current “speed burst” option.

    1. regulations are the reason for this, KERS is limited in power as per 2009 (and ’10 but FOTA agreed not to race it). If the regulations stated free and unlimited use, I’m certain your idea would be the prevailing use of KERS.

  11. Makes even more sense why they tested with their 2010 car.

  12. Looking forward to the split comparison to last year’s car. This looks substantially different.

  13. I believe McLaren are showing more of their hand then the other big 3 at this time they must of. It’s just the front wing and certain parts of the body look so much more thought out than the rest have done.

    It’s like comparing a video player to a Blue ray player both do the same job in a sense, just the other one looks and acts more moderner…

    I just hope the other teams are holding back on a lot of addons to their car, (RB, Ferrari,Merc,which I’m sure of) that they haven’t shown us yet, or I think we all know who will win this year.

    1. Yeap RBR, unless this monster works, which I will reserve judgement until in moves and isn’t made out of plastic.

    2. The front wing is last years wing. They put it on as they don’t want to show the new one to the press. Also the rear diffuser looks far too basic so I imagine that it will be replaced too. They also had plastic engine and exhaust system as they did not want to show their real system. I personally think we generally saw more of the other cars in testing than maclaren have shown of theirs here as the others would have been testing their aero etc. However we will not know until the first race who has got it right this time. The RBR looks like an evolution rather than a revolution (not necessarily a bad thing as they had a fast car to base it on) Ferrari looks a lazy effort (but then it could well be brilliant) and williams seems to have been very busy (I really would love to see them back near the top again).

      All I hope is that no one team runs away with it so we have another close exciting season.

  14. Please, please, that is NOT the front wing, it the same one they used at every car launch.

    1. Heh, I didn’t know that, but I was looking at it and thought “Hey, that’s quite a coincidence that the aerodynamically best shape happens to be their kind of swept wing half-moon shape”.

    2. They obviously don’t use the same wing at every launch.

      It is not even the same wing that was used for the 2010 launch.

      The wing that was bolted on today was the wing from the last couple of races of the 2010 season, a wing that had evolved out of all recognition from its car’s launch.

      (For those sitting at the back of class, it still has the bulky, but now entirely redundant, front flap actuators clinging to its surface).

      Your basic point is correct, of course we have not seen this years wing … but why you would choose to express that claim in such a bizarre and demonstrably incorrect manner is not at all obvious.

  15. “The tyres only last for around ten laps, and making them last longer is quite a challenge. So we need to look closely at how we configure the set-up and suspension to make the tyres last.”

    I think we’ll a big surprise in Bahrain, the key will be how long you can go fast, not being the fastest…

    1. Betting on JB for the title starts here…

      1. I thought that started a year ago!

  16. So sounds like the Mclaren won’t be getting too many poles this year. If this car doesn’t have the best pace they will be starting little further back with the hope that the others will burn tires and have to make an extra stop at most races.

    1. Of course they have designed it to be as fast as possible. A car that is running very well will usually be one that looks after its tyres aswell.

    2. Don’t worry, Hamilton is good at getting poles in a car that allows him to do so, similarly Vettel and Raikonen are/were the same. I hope the MP4-26 and RB7 are comparable in performance – I want to know who is better, Hamilton or Vettel in an even fight!

      1. It is not clear yet that Lewis is better then seb? Look at turkey last year seb couldnt pass anyone without hitting them all year long. he took out webber in turkey and button at spa. But in the same race at turkey button and lewis raced each other had some back and forth overtaking without crashing. Seb won cuz he got pole and stayed up front avoiding traffic. Webber and seb are not very good at overtaking Mark almost died in valencia doing who knows what to pass the lotus.

        1. Canada 2008! In his second season with a competitive car Hamilton couldn’t leave the pit lane without hitting someone else :)

          I’d certainly like to see a Vettel vs Hamilton showdown. Battle of the two youngest champions ever. But I want Schumacher to win the title.

  17. It definitely isn’t a Red Bull clone….looks very innovative and very aggressive….love it.

  18. Obviously Mclaren’s numbers from their supercomputer programmes will be saying this base car is the best concept they have produced…

    …but the same can be said about 2009!

    1. Hopefully they changed (or fired) the 2009 supercomputer.

      1. The engineer responsible for the 2009 car has moved to Ferrari …

        1. hahahahahahahahaha

          1. Soooooo funny!! lol lol lol

        2. Lolz Patrickl, BTW, is Pat Fry an Engineer? or just a Mechanic?

  19. a longer wheelbase

    This is the only thing that worries me. their slow-corner/traction performance was really bad last year and I was hoping they’d fix it. Looks like they’ve kept to the same ethos as before. Mind you without the EBD being around this year, having a good slow-corner car won’t be able to be made up for by a downforce-producing EBD, as was the case with Ferrari last year (see Turkey where they were rubbish, yet competitive at Brazil).

    1. i thought fast cornering came from high downforce…is that not what the new car is all about?

      I take it EBD is electronic break-force distribution, wasn’t that already banned? when did it come back? is it banned again?

      1. EBD = exhaust blow diffuser

        1. Thanks, now I feel really dumb

      2. If you mean the engine-braking antilock system, yes, banned. Or rather standardized via the standard ECU.

        The new stretch car is also worrying to me. I recall Ferrari went down that path and had to come back a couple years ago. You get more efficiency overall, in theory. But you have moment of inertia issues. Obviously, the aero guys will be begging for more wheel-base, especially after their struggles last year with all those disasterous upgrades—they want to prove that they can hang with Newey on aero. But aero guys only see one part of the performance picture, and you have to hope that Goss can keep a broader perspective.

        1. Ditto about the long wheel base – they could pay for that at the slower circuits, especially as the rather stunning looking dropped sidepods won’t count for much at low speeds. On the upside, if they have managed to hunker down the KERS low and central, that could payback big time. What we don’t know yet is where they have gone with their suspension – that could prove key with the new tyres.

          Anyway – pretty as usual from McLaren, and don’t expect it to be slow! Looking forward to next week’s testing, but suspect RB/McL/Fer won’t show their hand with low fuel runs until final test.

          1. Barcelona will be the first test to show any results. Funny some of the comments I read on these forums that we all talk like Mclaren aren’t aware of other design flaws and mistakes of the past. It’s like anything they may have created this year is experimental and they are giving it a go. They are fully aware of how fast this car is capable (give or take a half second at this stage) It the competition’s response to the regulation changes that they are aware of. My hat is taken off to Martin Whitmarsh (although i love Ron Dennis) as he has allowed Paddy Lowe and his team (as he did in 2010) to really stretch their legs. I’m pretty sure Ron had shackles on some of Newey’s designs. I see a re run of 1988!

        2. Yes pple, but don’t forget the change from Push to Pullrod in the rear. Ferrari went for Push and McLaren has changed this season.

    2. I think you are oversimplifying the issue. A longer wheel base will indeed generally (given that all other parameters are equal) mean a worse car in tight corners. However the longer wheel base should also make the car more stable (and therefore quicker with less tyre wear) in long fast corners. It also allows the engineers to distribute the weight better and can give more opportunity to control the airflow to the rear. There are so many variables that act upon the car, wheel base is just one variable. We will find out if they made the right decision when they race.

  20. MP 4-26 looks lovely as every Mc Laren is ever

    Let’s hope this car is so innovative that she – nice girl – will be the quickest of the season

    It is not important whether JENSON or LEWIS is champion… One of them will be enough and really I like both of them… They are different but also so British and motivated

    Nothing makes me more happy than listening the “God save the Queen”


    1. Tbh never liked our National anthem “god save the whatever”

      Should be “Rule Britannia” or “Land of hope and glory” In my opinion since it’s about us not just one person in the royal family.

  21. This car looks great, would have looked awesome in red and white though! As a mark webber fan I have to say I was very confident..before the mclaren was launched – now I’m a little concerned!!! This mclaren looks mean!!!

  22. The new tyres don’t last hmm this may role into Buttons favor since they say he is smooth and makes tyres last longer. Everyone will be doing 2-3 stops and he will only make 1-2 purhaps. will be interesting but hopefully Button wins it again.

  23. Wow, the front of that car looks so looong!

    If the Pirellis are degrading as badly as everyone says, surely Jenson’s already got the 2011 championship in the bag!

    Here’s hoping so. I love the guy. Well, I mean, you know, in a – oh, nevermind.


    1. Every F1 driver knows how to manage tyres …. see LH last season ….. The problem with JB is that he has no race-craft as he keeps waiting for the front runners to make mistakes. The guy needs some rac-balls IMO.

  24. Great looking car. I hope it blows the compitition away.

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