29
Jan
10

Vodafone McLaren MP4-25

So consensus on the Great Internet Dilletantocracy is that the Ferrari F10 is a gorgeous car that points to interesting trait evolution under the 2009-2010 technical rules.  That was Yesterday.  McLaren revealed their 2010 challenger Today, and Ferrari pissed themselves.  That’s a hefty vote of confidence; let’s have a look.

That’s kind of a small image (from McLaren’s press release).  Hard to see what all the fuss is about, but while we’re at it we can see a sharp taper downwards from the sidepods and a sort of third bulge between the (abbreviated) sidepods and the airbox/engine cover.  This is apparently a matter of packaging the larger 2010-spec fuel tank, although I will be dipped in shit if it has nothing to do with accommodating a double-deck diffuser that’s been designed into the car rather than bolted on in a panic.  Here’s the car from the side:

The shark fin returns, and as I’d hoped it carries an interesting bit of livery.  The undercut in the ‘fin seems to leave airflow under the rear wing’s main plane fairly unrestricted, and checking with the top view it looks like the fin extends back to the top of the wing as with the mid-season RB5.  Those things on the side are, I’m sure, exhaust outlets.  They’re awfully large; perhaps a move back in the direction of 2004-2008’s chimneys for evacuating heat from the engine compartment?

I don’t see any camera mounts on the airbox.  What the hell?

Up front we see an evolution of the nose similar to the Ferrari.  Mirrors are mounted on the chassis, rather than the turning vanes, and oddly enough the sidepod intakes don’t seem to interact with the barge-boards at all.  And what the hell is that big black thing behind the front wing mounts?

The aero bits around the nose look fantastically well-developed.  (If I’m not mistaken, the front wing is an end-of-season 2009 piece, not a new one.)  Most interesting is the camera mount below and in front of a… front diffuser.  This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing, but apparently Renault and Williams did it last season — it worked better for Williams than it did for Renault — and McLaren must have liked the idea well enough to give it a shot themselves.   This’ll create a bit more downforce at the front for those narrower front tires, and the Williams-ish snowplow atop the diffuser section probably conditions air well enough for the sidepod intakes that barge-board interaction is less of an issue.

The three-quarter shot of the front section gives a much better view of the diffuser and the way it interacts with the camera pods and wing mounts.  (Also, the camera pods come awfully close to the outboard wing sections.  I’m sure that’s intentional.)  Notice that McLaren didn’t adopt the RB5-ish vee-section nose, as Ferrari did: possibly that has to do with the airflow coming off the front diffuser.

With any luck, this car’ll shut up the doomsayers who’ve been insisting that we’ll see nothing but Red Bull-BrawnGP crossbreeds in 2010.  More discussion here and here on f1technical, and in this forum thread.

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