McLaren sure that stepped nose not the only solution

(L to R): Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren. McLaren MP4-27 Launch, McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, England, 1 February 2012.

Martin Whitmarsh with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button at the launch of the McLaren MP4-27

Feb.19 (GMM) McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has played down fears that his team has made a crucial mistake by overlooking the ‘step nose’ trend that will dominate the 2012 Formula 1 grid.

With the new Mercedes having now broken cover, and Pedro de la Rosa revealing that HRT’s 2012 car also has a step nose, famous British team McLaren is all alone in keeping a smooth aerodynamic line from the end of the monocoque to the tip of the nose.

Every other team has decided that the best solution to the new rules forcing a lower nose is to plough ahead with having as high a chassis as possible, in order to maximise the flow of air underneath the car.

“I’ve asked our technical guys if they are sure that we have done the right thing and they have told me not to worry,” team boss Whitmarsh is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

He admitted there is an obvious aerodynamic benefit to the ‘step nose’ solution.

“But we have a lower centre of gravity, more freedom in the suspension geometry, and a more comfortable seating position and a better view for the driver,” added Whitmarsh.

The main reason for McLaren’s decision is that, having already gone a different route to Red Bull at the front of the car last year, a ‘step’ nose would have required a wholesale design philosophy change.

“This car is an evolution,” confirmed Whitmarsh.

“In terms of radical innovations that are visibly obvious, I’ll have to disappoint — these rules just don’t leave that sort of room any more.”