McLaren MP4-28 has hidden stepped nose

_I4V0654The recently launched McLaren MP4-28 appears almost identical to its predecessor, but the real differences are actually significant and well hidden.

First, there is a ‘step’ nose, even though it’s not visible, as McLaren has taken up the FIA’s option of installing a laminate ‘modesty panel’.

Tim Goss, McLaren’s engineering director, said that the panel “weighs practically nothing”.

But when Lotus unveiled its 2013 car with a clearly visible ‘step’ in the nose, technical director James Allison said the laminate would weigh too much and have no performance benefit.

“I don’t understand that,” Goss is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.

“The cover is not only because of appearance; a smooth surface is aerodynamically always better than a split level.”

Also unlike Lotus, McLaren has not taken up the option of a ‘passive’ double-DRS system for its 2013 car.

Goss admitted his team had “experimented” with the concept, ultimately concluding that the potential advantage is quite small.

“Three teams tried to develop such a system for racing last year,” he explained, “and none succeeded.”

But a major difference between the 2012 McLaren and the new MP4-28 is a Ferrari F2012-style ‘pull-rod’ front suspension; a concept not seen before 2012 in F1 since the days of Italian backmarkers Minardi.

“Naturally, you look at the ideas of the competition, but to be honest, when Ferrari did it, we asked ourselves ‘Why on earth would they do that?’

“Only a long investigation showed that it is quite useful. The aerodynamic benefits outweigh the potential problems,” said Goss. (GMM)

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