McLaren set to run new nose in Barcelona
McLaren is likely to run a new front wing and nose at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed.
Having taken a different approach to almost every other team this season in not adopting a stepped nose, McLaren then rolled out a higher version on the final day of the Mugello test. While still not a step, it was an obvious difference from the previous nose, and Whitmarsh confirmed to ESPNF1 during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in that it was likely to be used in Barcelona.
"I think you may well see it this weekend, yes," Whitmarsh said. "There must be a bit of that (reacting to other stepped solutions) but I think actually if you look at the detail of it the height of the front of the nose is one of the more minor pieces of that new front wing assembly. So there's a range of things, I think we're continuously developing the car so a lot of what we were doing was gathering information. It's unusual these days of course to have an in-season test, so we felt we had to use that to gather lots of data and I'm sure aside from the nose that you saw there were all sorts of appendages, sensors and equipment fitted to the car over the course of the three days as I'm sure you saw."
When asked to explain the benefit in more detail, Whitmarsh admitted that while the gain from the nose was minimal, the knock-on effect was more substantial.
"Be aware that nowadays in Formula One the incremental improvements are generally modest and typically you're looking at the aerodynamic performance through corners. So you log a lot of data, classically of course you're looking for lower drag, higher downforce. In the case of the front wing and the nose there's the attachment pylons which as you may have noticed are quite a lot different, and then there's the wings, flaps, endplates themselves which are all subtle differences, but you're managing the airflow that is enjoyed by the rest of the car and the rest of the aerodynamic-generating surfaces and features of the car. So nowadays it's quite a critical part of the car, you're looking to find very small improvements.
"There's a lot of restrictions and prescription around the back end of the car so you more often generate more performance by managing the flow that arrives at them than developing them themselves. Clearly it was really a data gathering, we got a lot of data that's given our engineers a lot of information and you will see it in Barcelona. For the race engineers and the race drivers it will be the first time they experience it; they've got the data to set it up and they can find performance on the track ... I believe there's a reasonably chance we'll see it on Sunday."