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Formula 1 Dutch GP

How McLaren F1 aims for efficiency step with Dutch GP rear wing

The McLaren Formula 1 team has brought a new rear wing and beam wing package to Zandvoort's Dutch Grand Prix in a bid to address its aerodynamic efficiency.

McLaren MCL60

McLaren has enjoyed an impressive leap forward with its upgrade package ahead of the summer break. But the Woking squad won’t rest on its laurels as it looks to unlock the full potential of this year's car.

It is also keen to learn as much as possible ahead of 2024 so it can home in on a more specific development trajectory for its next challenger.

The most significant portion of the upgrade arrived at the Austrian Grand Prix but only made its way onto Lando Norris’s car, with Oscar Piastri getting his first taste of the new set-up at the British Grand Prix, where the second stage of the upgrade arrived for Norris.

The standout changes of what was originally planned to be a three-race upgrade rollout was a new front wing design, which features the semi-detached flap junction design first seen on the Mercedes.

McLaren side comparison (Silverstone endplate Inset)

McLaren side comparison (Silverstone endplate Inset)

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL60 new front wing, British GP

McLaren MCL60 new front wing, British GP

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Upon arriving at the Hungarian Grand Prix, the team announced a delay of the introduction of the third stage of the update package, as it needed more time to better understand the parts it had already introduced.

Given the high downforce nature of the Hungaroring, the updates scheduled for that circuit likely centred on a revised rear wing layout, which has now arrived at the Dutch Grand Prix, as the team looks to move on from its off-kilter Belgian GP.

The new rear wing seemingly takes inspiration from a design concept first introduced by Alpine at the Monaco GP, while AlphaTauri has also followed in this design direction, with the tip section of the wing completely overhauled to force discontinuity with the endplate.

Another design that’s similar in its intent appeared simultaneously on the Aston Martin AMR23 and has since been appropriated by Mercedes and Ferrari, suggesting there’s room for interpretation around the regulations in this region.

That will likely lead to a protracted mini development battle before one of these variants ultimately wins out.

Alpine A523 rear wing

Alpine A523 rear wing

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W14 rear wing end plate

Mercedes W14 rear wing end plate

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

In the solution favoured by Alpine, AlphaTauri and McLaren, the tip section becomes an extension of the upper flap, while also providing an additional tip that will undoubtedly be tuned to alter the wing tip's vorticity.

The shape of the mainplane, endplate and the rear cutout can and will all be modified to better suit the new conditions that the design affords.

McLaren has also introduced a revised beam wing lay-out to coincide with the alterations to its rear wing, as the team look to increase downforce while also reducing the drag being generated by the car.

An increase in efficiency both with the rear and beam wings is not only important in terms of the aerodynamic output, it also has an impact on how the power unit can be used, both from a fuel and energy usage point of view.

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

McLaren MCL60 technical detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A lack of efficiency, especially in low downforce trim, was the main reason behind its poor straight-line speeds at Spa.

Team principal Andrea Stella explained McLaren simply didn't have the time to prioritise a low-drag spec yet while developing its major summertime upgrade package, with the team working on a solution for next week's Italian Grand Prix, which will also likely be used on the streets of Las Vegas.

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