McLaren: Size zero not compromised by new Honda engine

McLaren is adamant that larger bodywork needed to accommodate Honda's taller 2016 engine does not compromise its 'size zero' aerodynamic concept.

Honda has introduced its 2016 race-spec engine in this week's second pre-season test at Barcelona in Spain, and the early indications are that it has delivered a step forward in performance over last year's version.

To overcome energy deployment weaknesses, Honda has made its compressor and turbine larger, which it is understood to have resulted in a slightly taller design.

That change, allied to a demand for improved cooling, has meant McLaren has had to slightly move away from the ultra-minimalist packaging associated with its 'size zero' aero concept.

New bodywork parts are due to arrive this week, while the final Melbourne-specification package will only be ready for the Australian Grand Prix.

But racing director Eric Boullier is adamant that what tweaks have been made to accommodate the engine have not been to the detriment of its aerodynamic performance.

"Size zero is a philosophy, so it doesn't [depend on] this kind of change," he said. "Honda are free to do what they want to make the engine as best as possible, and we can always accommodate."

When asked how accommodating McLaren had had to be for Honda with its aero plans, Boullier said: "There is no compromise."

Engine progress

Boullier has said that the early indications of the Honda version used this week has been encouraging.

"There is clearly a gain and it is good to see that we also have more potential coming out of this power unit," he said.

"It is still very early days, so we need to put more mileage and there is more experience to be gained about how to use and exploit it. But so far there is more potential."

He also reckoned that much of the energy deployment weaknesses that marred last season had been eradicated, although he did not expect the team to have fully caught up with the opposition yet.

"That is the good news on the power unit side this year and they have been fixing this issue," he said.

"I think anyway there will be some tracks where we cannot deploy totally and I believe the other ones will still have a bit more of an advantage this year because they developed this part too.

"But at least we will be as good as the others last year."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news
Tags honda