McLaren to run higher nose in Spain

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

Gary Paffett, McLaren, Mugello, 2012McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says the team will run the higher nose it tested in Mugello at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

McLaren ran their car in its conventional form for much of the test (pictured) before switching to a new, higher nose in the final hour of running.

The new nose will be tested in practice on Friday before the team evaluate whether to run it in the race.

Speaking at a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in Whitmarsh said the wing was run at the test for “data-gathering, giving our race engineers a lot of information.”

He added: “You will see it in Barcelona and for the race engineers and for the race drivers it’ll be the first time they experience it. They’ve got the data to set it up and find performance on the track.”

Whitmarsh said there’s “a reasonable chance you’ll see it on Sunday” for the race.

Aside from the obvious change of height in the nose, Whitmarsh said there were other significant changes: “If you look at the detail of it I think the height of the front of the nose is one of the more minor pieces of that new front wing assembly.”

He explained: “The situation nowadays in Formula 1 is incremental improvements are generally modest. Typically you’re looking at the aerodynamic performance through corners. So you log a lot of data, classically you’re looking for lower drag, higher downforce.

“In the case of the front wing and nose the attachment pylons as you may have noticed are quite a lot different. The wing’s flap and endplates themselves it’s all subtle differences.

“You’re managing the airflow that is enjoyed by the rest of the car and the rest of the aerodynamic-generating surfaces and features of the car. Nowadays it’s quite a critical part of the car, you’re looking to find very small improvements, there’s a lot of restriction and proscription around the back end of the car so you do more, or you often generate more performance, by managing the flow that arrives at therm, than developing them themselves.”

Whitmarsh said the team spent most of the test generating data on their car: “A lot of what we were doing was just gathering information. It’s unusual at this stage for us to have an in-season test so we felt we had to use that to log some data. There’s all sorts of appendages and sensors and equipment fitted to the car over the course of the few days as I’m sure you saw.”

The new nose was pictured by German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

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32 comments on McLaren to run higher nose in Spain

  1. Ben Everard (@beneverard) said on 9th May 2012, 10:52

    Love the looks of the McLaren, the new nose just looks great too! :-)

    • babis1980 (@babis1980) said on 9th May 2012, 11:21

      McLaren is still a gorgeous looking car….but they still don’t use the step nose concept ….. maybe they had to move to a higher nose because of the Super dooper DRS ? If any team could introduce the DDRS until the start of European season is McLaren and maybe Ferrari….. lets wait and see…..

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 9th May 2012, 16:23

        Ferrari wouldn’t waste time developing the Mercedes DRS system when there is so much stuff on their car that is already wrong and needs fixing in the more immediate future. You can’t just bolt upgrades like the double DRS on if the rest of the car isn’t balanced and aero efficient etc.

    • xeroxpt (@) said on 9th May 2012, 17:33

      For those who havent seen the new nose go check F1 dot com, the pylons overall look is the same (not very pretty) despite that they look to work differently, not shape but position size, looking aggressive!

  2. dkpioe said on 9th May 2012, 11:01

    reminds me of daffy duck

  3. ivz (@ivz) said on 9th May 2012, 11:10

    The picture currently featured is of Button and the old nose…..

  4. I’m a fan of the low nose design purely because it looks fantastic, however if McLaren need to adopt a higher nose for more rear end grip then so be it..

    At the end of the day points mean prizes and I would prefer the car be fast and ugly, than not competitive and pretty!

  5. robk23 (@robk23) said on 9th May 2012, 11:32

    Well at least it still won’t have that ruddy great step that most of the other cars have.

  6. Torg said on 9th May 2012, 11:38

    im quite liking the look of that new nose in the pic provided by Jay. I must admit im slowly getting use to the stepped noses too, the only exception being the Ferrari which is horrid.

  7. Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th May 2012, 11:52

    another possible advantage of the higher nose is that it creates room for larger, more effective turning vanes. The move to a higher nose definately seems to make sense, especially seeing as they have found a way of doing it without compromising their low chassis which provides a better center of gravity.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th May 2012, 3:50

      @jleigh Oh CofG will definitely be affected. The tub is homologated and so it’s a matter that even if McLaren wanted to (they might not) they’re not allowed to switch to a max-height chassis.

      This was an inevitable move IMO. Ever since they dumped the snowplough and switched to undernose vanes, the low nose was a hindrance to that concept, and they needed the higher nose to make it efficient.

  8. Paul A (@paul-a) said on 9th May 2012, 14:05

    Anyone notice the state of the tyres in the Auto Motor und Sport photo that Keith links in the article? Truly the “spawning of the marbles” …

  9. Boomerang said on 9th May 2012, 14:51

    Oh Paddy, Paddy, third nose configuration since car’s presentation… The only consolation is Adrian’s struggle with RB7′s rear end…

    • Jake (@jleigh) said on 9th May 2012, 16:13

      3rd?? what was the 2nd/1st?

    • Snafu (@snafu) said on 9th May 2012, 16:34

      I think you’re referring to snowplough device which was tested before Australia…
      anyways they had the fastest car with low nose and they want to use high nose because they think it makes them faster! so I think we should admire Mr Lowe for his design!

    • Lee1 said on 11th May 2012, 9:25

      Bearing in mind the nose area offers some of the biggest gains in time due to there being less restrictions I am not surprised they are developing it more than the rest of the car.

      However I think they really need to improve their DRS performance as the Maclaren seems to gain very little from opening DRS compared to other cars. (The Lotus for instance seems much quicker when they open their DRS)

  10. Dave (@davea86) said on 9th May 2012, 17:16

    Since the chassis is homologated that’s probably about as high as they can realistically go with the nose as the other cars have the step integrated into the shape of the front of the tub.

    If McLaren have found that getting as much air under the nose as possible is the better solution this could hold them back a little. Then again for all I know they might be getting the best of both worlds in terms of getting air under the car and not having the sharp step in the nose.

    • Elliot said on 9th May 2012, 17:53

      McLaren could integrate a stepped design if they needed too, but it wouldnt suit the car. the step is integrated into the front wing and no into the front of the tub.

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 10th May 2012, 3:54

        Yes, but if you made the step, what can you do without changing the tub? The nose would go up, and back down where it meets the chassis? That would make no sense whatsoever, but would probably cause massive drag.

        @davea86 as “unsleek” or “abrupt” as a stepped nose looks, it’s actually much ado about nothing in terms of how it affects the airflow.

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th May 2012, 19:21

    It’s a shame that this won’t be appearing as a surprise, it will be difficult to ascertain how much of an advantage, or disadvantage it might be in the race. The whole myriad of updates will make for a confusing Spanish GP :D

    Kinda flies in the face of Button saying McLaren weren’t planning on any major updates ;)

    • BBT (@bbt) said on 9th May 2012, 20:42

      Kinda flies in the face of Button saying McLaren weren’t planning on any major updates ;)

      …and a relief, everyone else had major updates, I was worried that the would suddenly fine themselves 7th and 8th (oh wait, that was Bahrain before Buttons retirement).

  12. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 9th May 2012, 19:33

    Really liked the new nose.
    But let’s see what difference it makes on the track.

  13. tharris19 (@tharris19) said on 10th May 2012, 18:09

    I think this nose design is not new to McLaren. I believe that it is an iteration of the car’s development for the season and the last test at Mugello was used to confirmed comparative figures gather at Woking, probably before the season started.
    They are too satisfied with the work done at Mugello to treat this as anything other than a planned step.

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