Legal or not? McLaren ingenious winglet suspension causes a buzz in Jerez paddock

Jenson Button in the McLaren MP4-29
Jenson Button in the McLaren MP4-29

Weird and wonderful nose solutions are attracting most of the obvious attention early in the 2014 Formula 1 season, but behind the scenes, engineers are far more interested in what is lurking at the rear of McLaren’s innovative new MP4-29.

Auto Motor und Sport has called it an “ingenious trick”, explaining that designers for the great British team have used the rear suspension to mimic the now-banned wing profiles beneath the main wing.

“It will be interesting to see if Charlie Whiting is responsive,” the report said. “If he does not object, the competition will have to catch up quickly.”

A report on Formula 1’s official website said that the McLaren solution “is considered legal by the FIA”, but rival teams are likely to protest loudly.

McLaren MP4-29 rear diffuser and exhaust detail
McLaren MP4-29 rear diffuser and exhaust detail

That is because of how difficult a complete re-design of entire rear suspension layouts would prove.

It seems that the likes of James Allison and Adrian Newey, perhaps the most respected technical brains in Formula 1, were caught by surprise.

“All I’ve seen are some blurry pictures,” Ferrari’s Allison said, “but I would like to know more about it because it does interest me.”

Red Bull’s Newey seemed to doubt the legality of McLaren’s solution.

“I have not seen the photos,” he said, “but as it is described, it sounds as though there are eight suspension elements, where only six are allowed. Moreover, there are clear rules for the width of the suspension.”

AM&S said that the FIA gave McLaren “the green light” last summer. (GMM)

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