Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2011

McLaren “most interesting” of 2011 cars – Rinland

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Former F1 designer Sergio Rinland describes the McLaren MP4-26 as the “most interesting” of the 2011 F1 car designs.

Read his thoughts on the McLaren, Renault and Williams designs below.

McLaren MP4-26

Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2011

Rinland describes the McLaren MP4-26 as “the most interesting car of the lot”.

One of the most eye-catching features is its U-shaped sidepod arrangement: “The side pods are very original and in line with controlling the vortices that leave the front tyre and travel downstream into the rear tyre and beyond.

“These sidepods remind me of the Benetton and Ligier of the mid-1990s – but surely for a different reason and effect.

“The rear suspension is pull-rod, just to make even more sense of the original sidepod design.”

McLaren have also been evaluating different exhaust solutions. Rinland says: “The way the exhaust is facing is what has become the norm. It will be interesting to see how McLaren reacts to the Renault solution.”

A more subtle feature is the cooling intake behind the roll-hoop: “The way McLaren has solve the KERS cooling problem, similar to the Renault, is neat, having the secondary effect of reattaching the flow behind the airbox duct and hence improving the flow to the rear wing.”

Renault R31

Renault R31 exhaust, Valencia, 2011
Renault R31 exhaust, Valencia, 2011

Rinland explains the thinking behind Renault’s exhausts which exit at the front of the sidepod: “The Renault has shown the amount of work they have done on the under floor flow management area.

“The exhaust treatment is unique so far, but you can bet everybody is looking at the solution now.

“What they are doing here is to energise the flow right at the start of the floor?s edge, where normally the vortices from the front wheels and wing are so difficult to manage. Those vortices tend to suck the air from under the floor, hence, by sending the exhaust flow, this would create a curtain (or, as we used to call them, a skirt!) keeping energy under the car creating more down force.

“The exhaust piping must be something to behold!”

There are some similarities between the Renault and McLaren:

“Renault has also solved the KERS cooling as McLaren have, taking air from behind the roll hoop, with the desired effect of sucking the boundary layer where it tends to normally separate and use that flow to cool the radiator above the gear box.

“They have also gone to rear pull rod suspension, cleaning the rear to accentuate the flow puling effect of the lower rear wing.”

Renault showed an excellent rate of development last year which Rinland believes will be key to their success in 2011: “If Renault can keep up the development pace, they will be a force this year.”

Williams FW33

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Jerez, 2011
Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Jerez, 2011

Rinland says the aggressive rear packaging and gearbox design on the Williams FW33 is a departure for a team he regards as ‘conservative’.

He said: “There’s nothing particular on the side pods and engine cover – until we get to the gearbox area. There I see something that it would not surprise me on other cars, but yes in a Williams, a true conservative team when it comes to radical ideas.

“Williams have done a gearbox to the bare minimum dimension around the gear cluster and what is more surprising, an extremely low differential which necessitates a very high angle drive shafts.

“The main reason for this solution is for all to see, which couple with the pull-rod suspension, is to clean as much as possible the flow to the lower rear wing, very important with the new rules to help to extract as much air from the diffuser as possible.”

He describes other “interesting” details on the FW33: “The front wing has the usual array of deflectors and 3D shapes to try to influence the flow and vortices downstream.

“The nose is as high as it gets, similar to their 2010 contender. Also interesting are the deflectors under the nose, to channel the clean flow due to the high nose, and the keel, which is more forward than their opponents’.”

Read Rinland’s thoughts on the 2011 Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and Lotus here:

Thanks to for the translated quotes

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Images ?? Pirelli, Julien Leroy /, F1 Fanatic