Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Bite-size tech: McLaren closed axle

Using the final stages of the season as an entree to testing for 2017, McLaren has the MP4-31 smattered with parts, sensors and cameras during Free Practice sessions to test and evaluate components that have a bearing on next years challenger.

In last few races, the Woking team has been testing a developmental front wing that bridges the gaps posed by the new regulations with the current ones, enabling McLaren to understand the aerodynamic principles that may be applied to next year's car.

The rules that have been in place since 2009, albeit adjusted several times during that time period, have forced the teams to outwash airflow around the front tyre, leading to many complex structures being employed on both the front wing and brake ducts, something that may differ in 2017.

A component that has been popularised, in various guises, during that period is the blown axle, with airflow taken in by the main air scoop escaping out of an aperture in the end of the axle.

This airflow is used to reduce the turbulence created by the wheel rim and tyre and hopefully improve the flow structures both upstream and downstream of it.

In Brazil, the team has abandoned the blown axle on Fernando Alonso’s car, replacing it with a spherical end cap, whilst the inlet has been blanked, too.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis