McLaren has overcome Renault packaging headaches

Technical director Tim Goss is confident McLaren has successfully overcome packaging headaches caused by Renault's engine architecture without having to compromise its 2018 Formula 1 chassis design.

McLaren has overcome Renault packaging headaches
 Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Oliver Turvey, McLaren MCL32
 Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, is attended to by mechanics in the pit lane
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Oliver Turvey, McLaren MCL32

After three years of disappointment with Honda, McLaren elected to end its deal with the Japanese manufacturer at the end of 2017 and sign a customer partnership with Renault for this year.

Although the move is set to deliver a much-needed power boost, Goss has revealed that the switch did require some major work at the back of the car due to way that Renault packages its turbo and energy recovery systems in a different way to Honda.

"The Renault architecture is very different," Goss told Motorsport.com. "You have two fundamental engine architectures out there.

"You have the Mercedes/Honda approach, and you have got the Ferrari/Renault approach. Essentially the difference comes down to where the turbocharger sits.

"The Mercedes/Honda approach is you have the compressor on the front of the engine, the turbine on the back of the engine and the MGU-H sat in the middle of the V.

"The Ferrari/Renault approach is that you have got the compressor sat at the back of the engine, the MGU-H behind it and the turbine behind that.

"They require a very different approach to your chassis and your gearbox, and now we have had recent experience of both we can see there are pros and cons of both.

"There are things I love about the Renault approach and there are things that frustrate me a little bit, but in the end we were fortunate that the decision to move from one engine to another was made just in time. It couldn't have been made any later."

Goss has explained that the differing requirements of the Renault packaging had an impact on several areas of the car - including the fuel tank, gearbox and rear suspension.

"We had to reconfigure the chassis, change the cooling system and reconfigure the gearbox to make it fit," he said.

"But we've managed that in time without any significant compromise to the chassis. It was quite a big change.

"The Renault engine will sit further forward in the chassis. With the Honda you had the air intake that had to come down into the front of the engine, and that volume came out of your fuel cell. So as a result, the chassis was longer.

"But then what you hadn't got was a turbocharger sat off the back of the engine, which then gets in the way of your inboard suspension.. So you ended up with a much easier task at the back of the engine.

"When you move to a Renault, suddenly the front of the engine becomes a lot simpler and as the result we win back a substantial amount of fuel volume.

"You can push the engine forwards and the aerodynamic blockage of the engine and exhaust is considerably better, because that has moved forwards behind the chassis.

"But then you have a turbocharger that is sat in the bell housing and, as a result, to accommodate that you have to redesign your rear suspension internals and lengthen the gearbox.

"But we've done a fantastic job. A really fantastic job. It was very, very intense. We had pretty much two weeks of very intense effort to get it sorted, but we knew pretty much what we needed to do."

Performance step

McLaren's chassis was regarded as one of the best in the field last year, although a lack of power made it difficult to judge exactly where it compared to Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

But although the team is upbeat about carrying forward its promise in to 2018, Goss is well aware of the opportunities all teams will have to revamp their designs and make a big jump forward.

"Obviously you choose the architecture of the car at the beginning of the season, and there are some things that are built in that you cannot really change during the season," he said.

"So when you redesign the car, that is your opportunity to make those changes. I think people will, through looking around at other cars, be able to make those changes.

"You would expect there to be a step and, given the cars are relatively immature, you would expect it to be a bigger step than in previous seasons."

shares
comments
Has Williams made the right choice with Sirotkin?

Previous article

Has Williams made the right choice with Sirotkin?

Next article

The evidence that shows Honda can succeed in F1 again

The evidence that shows Honda can succeed in F1 again
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021