McLaren determined to avoid "peaky" 2018 F1 car

McLaren is determined to avoid having a "peaky" 2018 Formula 1 design and is focusing on making its new car's handling user-friendly for Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne.

McLaren determined to avoid "peaky" 2018 F1 car
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32, stops in his pit garage
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Listen to this article

Reigning champion Mercedes admitted its "diva" 2017 design was hard to get consistent performance from.

Ahead of a season in which it hopes its switch from Honda to Renault power will end its five-season win drought, McLaren technical director Tim Goss said the team had prioritised making the car's characteristics amenable.

"So much of producing a great F1 car these days is giving the driver a car that they can exploit," Goss told Motorsport.com. "There is no point in giving them a car with very peaky performance.

"What we are trying to do is give the driver something that operates very well over a broad operating envelope."

Goss said McLaren had taken that approach to its first design of the new aerodynamic regulations last year.

"Initially we are not worried about what level of performance we are going to put on the car," he explained.

"What we wanted to do was understand the flow physics and try to get good, well-behaved aerodynamics across the range of the operating envelope of yaw/steer/roll and ride-height.

"And only when we did that and we were happy that we had well-behaved aerodynamics did we start to build the performance.

"So our approach these days is very much about giving the driver something they can trust and work with, and peaky load is in our view not the way to produce a quick aerodynamic package for the driver, or vehicle dynamics change."

Goss said McLaren had decided not to try to compensate for Honda's lack of straightline performance with a low-drag 2017 design or set-ups.

"Even trimming a bit of downforce off the car and trimming to a lower wing level, we were still not going to get our car to the point where we have that raceability in a straight line," he said.

"So our approach has been to always go for the quickest laptime and our tactics coming to a race weekend were to qualify as well as we can, and then aim to defend that position based on laptime. In some races that was extremely difficult.

"We improved the car quite considerably around the Hungarian GP, had a great race in Hungary and then got to Belgium and just went backwards.

"We went backwards not because of our laptime but because we had zero ability to defend in a straight line.

"That period of Belgium/Italy was immensely frustrating because we knew we had car performance but we couldn't defend.

"We are here to win races and win championships and with the car the approach we take is to design around success.

"Rather than put sticking plasters to try to cope with the fact that we had an underpowered engine, what we really wanted to do is develop the best car and assume the engine is going to come."

shares
comments
Renault aims to beat top F1 teams at "85% capacity"
Previous article

Renault aims to beat top F1 teams at "85% capacity"

Next article

Wolff "bothered" by Ocon/Perez clashes at Force India

Wolff "bothered" by Ocon/Perez clashes at Force India
Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull Prime

Why Mercedes believes it can make the step F1 needs to fight Red Bull

The 2022 Formula 1 season was Mercedes' leanest for a decade, achieving just a solitary pole and grand prix win. Yet the team is confident it has got the tools it needs to cast that disappointment aside and return to the front of the field again next year.

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Prime

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Prime

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1.

Formula 1
Dec 8, 2022
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022