McLaren tech team comment on MP4-18

Members of the Team McLaren Mercedes' technical team Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley and Mike Coughlan have been commenting on the new MP4-18 which made its test debut at the Paul Ricard circuit in France yesterday. "The general design objectives are...

Members of the Team McLaren Mercedes' technical team Adrian Newey, Neil Oatley and Mike Coughlan have been commenting on the new MP4-18 which made its test debut at the Paul Ricard circuit in France yesterday.

"The general design objectives are always the same," says Technical Director Newey. "To basically make the car quicker which is all the fundamentals of improving aerodynamic efficiency, reducing centre of gravity height, improving the handling of the car and hence the cornering performance."

Alexander Wurz test the new McLaren Mercedes MP4-18.
Photo by DaimlerChrysler.
Executive Director of Engineering Neil Oatley adds: "I think it's a big step forward from where we were. A lot of effort, a lot of time has gone into the 18 spread over a longer period of time so I think we've ended up with a structurally superior car, much more tightly packaged, much more weight-efficient, and we are expecting quite a significant improvement in lap times because of all of that."

"The 2003 car is evolutionary is some respects but in other respects it's quite different," continues Newey. "Wee tried to package the car tighter so it" a lot smaller than the MP4-17. Wee really pushed quite hard to come up with an aerodynamically efficient package, which also allows a low centre of gravity. So we'e trying to get the aerodynamics and the mechanical side of the car to work in harmony."

"The new car is the first car that" been designed specifically with Michelins in mind," he adds. "Really it's about making proper use of the tyres in terms of the tow angles, the camber angles, presenting the tyre to the ground in the optimum way. And that has been a learning curve of Michelin". So we'e hoping that that clean sheet of paper approach to being able to optimise the car around the tyres will pay dividends."

Oatley confirmed just how much time and resources have been allocated to the design and build of the new MP4-18 which has run alongside the development of the MP4-17D. "The last winter has been extraordinarily difficult and busy for us," he said. "It's the first time we've for many, many years developed an existing car at the same time as designing a completely fresh car really from the ground up."

Mike Coughlan, Chief Designer joined the team in late 2002 with responsibility for the management of the design team. "MP4-18 is driven from a "spec" sheet given to me from Adrian," he admitted. "That "spec" sheet ends up at about nine revisions before it's finalised," he said. "We've concentrated on the details and I think it sets a new standard for this company."

The MP4-18 will continue testing for the next two days at the Paul Ricard circuit and will be driven by Team McLaren Mercedes' test driver Alex Wurz.

-mclaren-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Alexander Wurz , Adrian Newey
Teams Mercedes , McLaren