Exhaust-blown diffuser ban “a real challenge”, say McLaren drivers

2012 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-27, 2012

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-27, 2012

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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25 comments on Exhaust-blown diffuser ban “a real challenge”, say McLaren drivers

  1. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 1st February 2012, 14:15

    Funny comments form Button and Hamilton.

    I wonder if a ‘lighter’ back end will help Hamilton and Schumacher, who like to have a little more oversteer. But I’m not sure, because of the fact that it’s only lighter when they’re off throttle.

    • MylesW (@mpw1985) said on 1st February 2012, 14:25

      @verstappen
      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Although, at the beginning of last year, I think a lot of people were making a big fuss about how the Pirellis would totally suit Jenson’s driving style more than Hamilton’s, and that turned out to not be (entirely) true.

    • rubes said on 2nd February 2012, 5:30

      I don’t think the on-throttle effect will be as severe as what it was last year, as that would cause a HUGE amount of un-balance when off throttle. Mclaren are apparently one of the teams looking at having the exhaust gasses blowing onto the plane of the rear wing

  2. Brolloks (@brolloks) said on 1st February 2012, 14:15

    “This year I think it will be the other way around: having too much at the front and trying to find more rear.”

    Does this mean that the car will be more “pointy”, with sliding at the back? If so, this will benefit the driving styles of those who like cars with loose back ends, such as Schumacher and Hamilton.

  3. “As you can see this is a beautiful car,” said Button.

    That made me lol more than Hamilton’s joke about Massa and his mirrors. :P

  4. drmouse (@drmouse) said on 1st February 2012, 14:21

    Hamilton added: “We’ve changed the mirrors, we’ll be able to see a lot better. Felipe [Massa] will be very happy with that!

    Love it! :D

  5. JCost (@jcost) said on 1st February 2012, 14:43

    At this stage, all I can say is MP4-27 is prettier than Caterham’s challenger and will probably be the best looking car on the grid, but I gotta wait a few more days to see it against Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes to say whether I like it or not…

  6. Jake (@jakehardyf1) said on 1st February 2012, 15:32

    I am glad they banned the blown diffusers, but I wish the hp limit was raised a bit. It’s 2012. We should be pushing for record lap times instead of hindering the possibility. Damn F2004 has so many lap records.

    • SempreGilles (@sempregilles) said on 1st February 2012, 16:36

      I wish they would too. But it would be either unsafe, too expensive or not “green” (yuck!) or a combination of those.

      Actually I guess they could easily double the horsepower if they wanted. Just cut back earo so corner speeds don’t get too high and DRS can be thrown in the garbage, then add a restrictor plate or something like that so that top speed doesn’t get out of controll at circuits like Monza et voila. I can already imagine cars powersliding at Monaco…

      • Jake (@jakehardyf1) said on 2nd February 2012, 1:26

        Come on man, unsafe? Look at the F2004. 900+hp, aero and all. It was only held back by the slitted tires. The thing is in 2014 when the turbo 6’s come in, they will produce less greenhouse gases with more efficiency. They can easily pump up the hp! :) I just want to see laps on Monza around 1:19, Spa 1:44’s, Melbourne 1:22’s etc. Just a bit over a second quicker. :)

  7. Dan8 (@dan8) said on 1st February 2012, 16:42

    “McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button say the ban on exhaust-blown diffusers will make driving more difficult in 2011.”

    Do you mean in 2012 Keith, or am I mistaken?

  8. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 1st February 2012, 17:19

    I really like the nose area of the car (compared to Caterham’s interpretation) and the rest in general. Hope it’s a serious RB8 challenger from the start :-)

  9. not sure how its a ‘real challenge’ to the drivers. They didnt have it a few years ago and got by ok.

    its a challenge to the engineers though, trying to regain that downforce back.

  10. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 1st February 2012, 20:04

    I wondered about the doomsday predictions of ugly noses. I wasn’t fully buying into it. Yeah, Caterham’s is pretty unsightly, but I didn’t figure that’d be the best way about this and obviously McLaren felt the same. I guess we’ll see as more cars are released and then when testing begins, whether the stepped nose was a clever call or a terrible mess.

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