Pre-Season F1 2012 Car Preview: McLaren MP4-27


Podium Finisher
The unofficial start to 2011, at the preseason tests was not exactly what McLaren had hoped for. Concerns about how fast the Car was and reliability issues blighted all 3 of the tests. hope poor planning didn't help either with McLaren being one of a few to bother testing in the pouring rain of the first day of the final test while others saved up mileage for the two other dry days. A well timed and well worked update for the first race saved most blushes and 2009 being whispered around F1 circles. Still the best they could do was best of the rest as they couldn't not match RedBull consistently throughout the season has Vettel walked his way to the title unchallenged.

McLaren will be hoping for better this season and also break the cycle of recent years of them being slow out the Box and then playing catch up. A bizarre article from Autosport that got pulled about McLaren being ready "to take the fight to the FIA" and that it was Vettel and not RedBulls car that got the better of them next season will not help things.

On the face of it there seems to be not too much Radical with the car. The bloodline between the MP4-27 and its previous ancestors is very much apparent. In fact from the side view it is very difficlut to notice the difference between the last years MP4-26.

From the front however the first thing noticeable is that the L shaped sidepods are gone and that 2012 challenger has something more akin to McLarens 2010 effort. Some pointed out at the time that odd shaped sidepod with the inlets moved as far way from the cockpit (normal convection is try and do the opposite) was an effort to gain back more downforce after the double diffuser was banned and that McLarens solution may of been because they were struggling to do this. Weather the removal of this shows that the problem as gone, or weather there even was a problem is for engineers to debate.
As with the recent years the sidepod does not as large undercut on the sidepods as most teams do, or even the Newey designed Cars had.

The Nose of the Car looks very similar to the the 2011 car albeit it is lower due to the 2012 changes to the rules. For those worrying about the beauty of the 2012 cars McLaren have not gone down the road of Caterham of the hideous two stepped "dolphin nose" that some have speculated most teams will go down. Its clean and flat and McLaren have not gone down the route of RedBull that some teams have copied of having a lip on the edge to help aerodynamics obviously not finding any advantage from it.

Also the packaging on the car is a lot tighter then the MP4-26. With the Coke bottle effect more exaggerated then last season. Also where the sidepod meets with the end of the engine cover there is a smaller hole which is there which helps cooling and is most obvious on the Redbull car last season. Towards the rear of the car The exhausts have somewhat caused a growth from the sidepod with the outlets pointing quite sharply upwards. It looks has they are further outwards then the rear wing, so perhaps to direct the exhaust gasses over the rear tire?. But no doubt this area of the car will be worked on before the first test let alone the start of the season.

F1 Fanatic ;


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Does anybody want to see the live Sky coverage from Woking?

Crofty was the MC, and there was quite a bit of conversation with Lewis and Jenson after they disrobed their car. Just let me know if you want to see that footage.
It seems clear they are continuing the extended sidepods idea from last year with little in the way of radical innovation.

Scarbs pretty much summed up my thoughts.

Again another beautiful looking car from the Woking boys (and girls...).
Shame there's no Lucozade/Johnnie Walker mixer. That sounds delicious.

Looking at the side-by-side overhead shots, we shouldn't forget the 2010 car was very long wheelbase, so that might be why it looks a bit narrower and slimmer than the others - some sort of distortion. No criticism implied of the creator of course- I'm glad there are talented people in the world doing this sort of thing!
"It's a lot trickier to drive now than it was but I'm sure, as we get into the season, we'll get that back."

The Red Bull usually looked like the easiest car on the grid to drive.
I hadn't really noticed the bulge in the bodywork caused by the exhaust exit before reading/watching everything posted here. It looks to me like they might be using it to help direct airflow to the diffuser.
There is certainly an element of mystery to the McLaren, they're definitely hiding something and there's already rumours about protests in Jerez (not just against McLaren).
Here's a thought.

Have McLaren misinterpreted the regulations? Is their design actually legal?

I ask because of this comment by Newey:
Adrian Newey said:
The restriction nose height which is a maximum height just in front of the front bulkhead hasn’t really changed the chassis shape very much. We’ve kept more or less the same chassis shape, but had to drop the nose just in front of the front bulkhead, which, in common with many other teams, has led us to I think I’d probably say a slightly ugly looking nose. We’ve tried to style it as best we can, but it’s not a feature you would choose to put in were it not for the regulation.
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