2012 F1 season
McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button say the ban on exhaust-blown diffusers will make driving more difficult in 2012.
Speaking at the launch of the new McLaren MP4-27 the pair said the car is designed to cope with the effects of the ban.
Hamilton said the changes at the rear of the car will be especially significant: “Particularly the back of the car is a lot neater than it was last year. It’s much, much tighter. The focus is making it as snug as possible at the back to improve aerodynamics. It’s just refinement.
“The [rear] wing is a bit better in terms of dropping drag. We’re trying our best to improve the rear flow especially with no blown diffuser this year it’s going to be very tricky for us. You’ll lose a lot of downforce without the blown diffuser.
“When we were off-power last year we had a tremendous amount of downforce just coming from the back floor with the exhaust-blown diffuser. We don’t have that this year which is really the biggest loss for us.”
He added: “It’s about finding the balance last year we obviously had a lot of weight and a lot of downforce on the rear of the car and we had to try to balance it with getting enough front end. This year I think it will be the other way around: having too much at the front and trying to find more rear.
“In terms of driving we are yet to really put it to the test how much we have to change our driving style. But I’m sure it’s going to be a real challenge this year.”
Button added the change in the diffuser rules could cost teams “a lot of lap time”.
In a light-hearted moment Button said he preferred the sleek nose of the McLaren to the kind of nose seen on the Caterham last week:
“As you can see this is a beautiful car,” said Button. “Many of them that you see will not be. That’s something we definitely have and to me that’s important.”
Hamilton added: “We’ve changed the mirrors, we’ll be able to see a lot better. Felipe [Massa] will be very happy with that!
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