McLaren aim for 2010 downforce level on new car

2011 F1 season

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:

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

  1. Ilanin said on 4th February 2011, 15:33

    “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. BasCB (@bascb) said on 4th February 2011, 15:34

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

    • Unipart said on 4th February 2011, 15:58

      @ 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.

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

      • Neil Davies (@neil-davies) said on 4th February 2011, 16:02

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

        • mateuss said on 4th February 2011, 18:50

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

      • madbikerbob said on 4th February 2011, 16:03

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

        • kenneth Ntulume said on 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……

      • Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th February 2011, 17:20

        Looks like BasCB has a cyber stalker.

        • Solo (@solo) said on 4th February 2011, 18:38

          @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.

        • MagillaGorilla said on 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…

      • Shiro said on 5th February 2011, 21:08

        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.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 4th February 2011, 17:23

      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.

      • Oliver said on 4th February 2011, 18:28

        The tyres alone are about a second slower.

      • 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.

      • swarf69 said on 4th February 2011, 22:12

        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. Eddie Irvine said on 4th February 2011, 15:45

    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

  6. McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 4th February 2011, 15:45

    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.

    • Andy C said on 4th February 2011, 15:53

      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….. :-)

    • Solo (@solo) said on 4th February 2011, 18:48

      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.

      • 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.

        • McLarenFanJamm said on 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.

    • 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 said on 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.

  8. TED BELL said on 4th February 2011, 15:51

    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. slicecom said on 4th February 2011, 15:53

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

    • xtophe (@xtophe) said on 4th February 2011, 16:25

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

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 4th February 2011, 16:51

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

      • 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.

    • Henry said on 4th February 2011, 17:40

      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!

      • The Williams “walrus” nose springs to mind!

        • james_mc said on 5th February 2011, 9:01

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

        • SennaNmbr1 (@) said on 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. madbikerbob said on 4th February 2011, 15:55

    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.

    • MarkC said on 4th February 2011, 16:14

      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. mateuss said on 4th February 2011, 16:04

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

  12. John M said on 4th February 2011, 16:36

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

  13. Pedal to the Vettel (@pedal-to-the-vettel) said on 4th February 2011, 16:59

    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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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”.

    • Feynman said on 4th February 2011, 22:20

      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. Paolone (@paolone) said on 4th February 2011, 17:38

    “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…

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