Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

Tech gallery: How the McLaren MCL32 evolved throughout 2017

A selection of the best technical images of the McLaren’s 2017 challenger, the MCL32, courtesy of Giorgio Piola, Sutton Images and LAT images.

Nose detail and the Honda logo on the McLaren MCL32

Nose detail and the Honda logo on the McLaren MCL32
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Photo by: LAT Images

McLaren MCL32 rear wing detail

McLaren MCL32 rear wing detail
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Side view of the MCL32’s insanely complex rear wing endplates.

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren MCL32 detail

McLaren MCL32 detail
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This shot from above illustrates the complexity of the MCL32’s midriff, with numerous slots cut into the bargeboards and footplates.

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren MCL32, nosecone detail

McLaren MCL32, nosecone detail
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A close-up of the nose-mounted camera supports.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL32 front wing detail

McLaren MCL32 front wing detail
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An extreme close-up of the complex and twisted front wing cascade.

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren MCL32 rear wheel hub detail

McLaren MCL32 rear wheel hub detail
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The rear brake assembly during the build-up phase and without the associated brake drum fairings fitted. Note the carbon fibre shroud and pipework which helps cool the brake caliper.

Photo by: Sutton Images

The chassis detail of McLaren MCL32

The chassis detail of McLaren MCL32
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The MCL32 with the covers off exposes layers of detail, such as the brake ducts, bulkhead and internal sidepod components.

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren MCL32 rear detail

McLaren MCL32 rear detail
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The MCL32 while being worked on exposes much of the installation detail of the Honda power unit and its ancillary coolers.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL32 steering wheel

McLaren MCL32 steering wheel
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A close-up of the MCL32’s steering wheel, showing the numerous buttons and rotaries that must be used by the driver to get the maximum from his power unit and chassis.

Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren MCL32 steering wheel detail

McLaren MCL32 steering wheel detail
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Cited upside down on the chassis we get the opportunity to see the clutch paddle arrangement favoured by Fernando Alonso, which uses a socket style adaptation in order that his fingers reside within the paddle and get a better feel for the clutch movement.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Australian GP

Australian GP
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McLaren was one of the most active teams when it came to front wing optimisation throughout 2017 and kicked off their campaign with 5 changes to the front wing in Australia. 1 - an extra slot in the mainplane, 2 - two strakes running underneath the wing, rather than three, 3 - a revised footplate arc, 4 - revised shaping to the flap tips and 5 - a revised outer flap configuration.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Australian GP

Australian GP
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Optimising flow around the sidepods the team made several revisions in Australia, with the upper surface of the bargeboard connecting winglet revised (red arrow), three vortex generators placed on the sidepods shoulder, rather than one (white arrow) and an extra axehead added to the floor (blue arrows).

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Chinese GP

Chinese GP
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McLaren introduced a long floor slot in China, similar to one already seen on the Toro Rosso, improving flow along the cars flank. The red arrow points to an almost imperceptible slot placed midway along the floor that ensures its compliance with the regulations.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Chinese GP

Chinese GP
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The team introduced a T-wing in China, dubbed a ‘coat-hanger’ style due to its appearance. The winglet sought to generate its own downforce while also improving the behaviour of the rear wing, primarily through manipulation of the tip vortex. The complexity of the rear wing endplates is also drawn to your attention with the arrow.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Bahrain GP

Bahrain GP
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Changes made to the already complex rear wing endplates on the MCL32 include a much longer pair of slots toward the rear of the surface and a revised leading edge (arrowed, left inset).

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Spanish GP

Spanish GP
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A look at the ever evolving front wing design, which now features three endplate canards and revisions to the main cascade.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Spanish GP

Spanish GP
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The diffuser was updated in Spain to feature this vertical slot in the outer edge, injecting some of the high pressure flow from the upper surface into the outer section of the diffuser, affecting the edge vortex.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Spanish GP

Spanish GP
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The bargeboards were a source of constant development throughout the season, with the slots in the footplate (arrowed) continually optimised.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Monaco GP

Monaco GP
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This top down view of the MCL32 with Jenson Button at the wheel affords us a great viewpoint of the aero surfaces at the front of the car. Note also the use of asymmetric cooling panels beside the driver, with eight louvres in the right panel and none in the left.

Monaco GP

Monaco GP
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McLaren joined a growing pool of teams to employ rearward facing gurney extensions that reach back behind the diffuser, with the intent of revising the edge vortex.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Canadian GP

Canadian GP
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Kiel probe arrays are mounted ahead of the sidepods as the team looks to gather data on the airflows movement around the midriff of the car, with updates to the bargeboards and surrounding aerodynamic paraphernalia made in Monaco.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Canadian GP

Canadian GP
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In order to help quell the effects of ‘tyre squirt’ the team added three slots into the floor ahead of the rear tyre.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Canadian GP

Canadian GP
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A look at the changes made to the front wings flap tips for the Canadian GP, as a much more extreme curvature was employed.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Austrian GP

Austrian GP
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A revised cascade layout was introduced in Austria, featuring its own mounting support next to the main endplate and revised geometries to the outer, vertical fences.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Hungarian GP

Hungarian GP
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The front wing in Hungary utilised a gurney trim on the uppermost flap in order to add a little more front end and balance it with the gains made at the rear of the car.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Hungarian GP

Hungarian GP
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Comparison of the new and old monkey seats, the new one (left inset) featuring a longer mounting spar and revised arch to the winglet, as the designers look to improve the shape of the plume exiting the exhaust.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Hungarian GP

Hungarian GP
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McLaren’s high-downforce, triple element T-wing.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Hungarian GP test

Hungarian GP test
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Lando Norris at the wheel of the MCL32 which is outfitted with a kiel probe array between the front wheel and sidepod, evaluating the wake generated by the front wheel.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Belgian GP

Belgian GP
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Close-up of the bargeboards footplate which had extra slots added into it in the preceding races.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Belgian GP

Belgian GP
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Just two louvres to displace heat generated within the sidepods in the cooling panel used in Belgium.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Belgian GP

Belgian GP
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Lower downforce rear wing with semi-spoon shaping utilised in conjunction with the monkey seat and coat-hanger style T-wing.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Italian GP

Italian GP
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Front wings upper flap cut down dramatically for Monza to reduce drag and mimic downforce levels at the rear of the car.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Italian GP

Italian GP
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Low-downforce rear wing for the Italian GP with no T-wing in use either.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Italian GP

Italian GP
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Chassis/bulkhead, suspension and brake cylinder detail.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Malaysian GP

Malaysian GP
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A pre-bargeboard was added to this already busy looking area of the car (arrowed).

Photo by: Sutton Images

Malaysian GP

Malaysian GP
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A look at the ever increasing complexity of the region between the front wheels and sidepods, occupied by a collection of bargeboards and floor extensions.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

United States GP

United States GP
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A rearward shot of the front wing and nosecone assembly shows many of the details that ordinarily remain out of sight.

Photo by: Mark Sutton

United States GP

United States GP
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A view inside the MCL32’s cockpit. Note the huge array of buttons and rotaries on the steering wheel, all of which are used by the driver to control the various parameters of the car and power unit.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Mexican GP

Mexican GP
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An all too familiar sight in 2017 as the RA617H Honda power unit is detached from the MCL32 for investigative work. In doing so though, it gives us an opportunity to see the installation.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mexican GP

Mexican GP
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The MCL32’s front brake duct assembly utilises a sizeable ‘crossover’ pipe which draws air in through the main brake scoop with the intent of ejecting it through the wheel face.

Photo by: Mark Sutton

Mexican GP

Mexican GP
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The MCL32’s rear brake duct assembly manages the temperature relationship between the brakes and the rear wheel rims. Also note the significant quantity of winglets mounted on the inside of the vertical fence.

Photo by: Mark Sutton

Mexican GP

Mexican GP
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Fernando Alonso at the wheel of his MCL32. Note the use of four cooling outlets in the panel next to the cockpit.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Mexican GP

Mexican GP
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In contrast, here’s the MCL32 set-up with an eight-louvre cooling panel.

Photo by: Sutton Images

Brazilian GP

Brazilian GP
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Overhead shot of the front wing specification first introduced in the United States that features an additional slot in the mainplane.

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Brazilian GP

Brazilian GP
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Vandoorne at the wheel of his MCL32, note that only three louvres are in use in the cooling panel aside the cockpit.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis