Overburn on the McLaren

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
So we saw a McLaren car that was strong in Spa, possibly even stronger than when we last saw a McLaren 1-2, in Montreal. They really did seem to be the pick of the bunch for that race.

Obviously quite a lot of this will be down to the track characteristics, with Sectors 1 and 3 favouring the high powered and slick McLaren Mercedes. Other contributing factors may well be loss of performance on the RBR and Ferrari through forced changes to the their front wing, although we may well not see clear evidence for this until Singapore in a months time.
PositionSector 1Time
1L Hamilton31.093
2J Button31.112
3F Massa31.182
4R Kubica31.206
5A Sutill31.298
PositionSector 2Time
1S Vettel45.493
2M Webber45.608
3L Hamilton45.915
4R Barriche46.052
5J Button46.055
PositionSector 3Time
1L Hamilton28.500
2J Button28.605
3F Massa28.673
4A Sutill28.733
5R Kubica28.791
However, one question that I have to ask is, "Have McLaren finally got their exhaust blown diffuser working correctly?" If so, is this also a contributing factor to the McLarens strong form in Spa?
After Martin Bundle pointed this out on the coverage, the sound coming from the McLaren became very clear to me, a deep rumble that seemed to sound as they lifted from the throttle. Now Martin Brundle was absolutely convinced that this was them overburning, or feeding the diffuser with exhaust gasses when off the throttle. A technique that RBR pioneered, but supposedly only for use in qualifying.

To me it seemed like the McLaren's were doing this throughout the entire race. I wonder if this is actually similar to the RBR methods for gaining those extra tenths in qualifying, and if so, how they have managed to get it to work on the car throughout the entire race distance.

Looking at the sector times, as you would expect, the McLaren were the fastest cars through sectors 1 and 3, with RBR taking sector 2. The good news for McLaren is that in Sector 2 they managed quicker times than Ferrari, and were only 3 tenths off the Red Bull pace. Obviously these times may be compromised somewhat with McLaren able to run higher wing levels due to the optimised F-duct, but they should take solace from the fact that they are quicker than Ferrari in the aero of the track where efficient downforce matters most.

It is clear though, at last to me, that McLaren have finally found some performance in their car, which seems to be from their EBD, rather that totally due to track characteristics, or performance loss from their rivals. With 4 more weeks to go until Singapore, and a major update planned for that race, McLaren seem to have both the time, and plans in place to gain on their rivals, in the traditionally poor areas of their car this season. Especially as RBR and Ferrari may well have to spend a week redesigning their floor and wings to confirm with the new FIA tests due for Monza.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I think it will be worrying RBR that they haven't featured in the top 5 in sectors 1 & 3 with Monza upcoming, so is Monza going to be damage limitation¹ for them?

McLaren were only 3 tenths slower in sector 2, but you must remember that that entails a third of the lap. So I would still expect the Red Bulls to be extremely strong in Singapore and Suzuka unless there is a helping of rain.

As for the front wing changes, I don't believe for a second that the wings have not changed² so maybe that is something to consider. However, it probably wouldn't negate Red Bull's advantage in races such as Singapore and Suzuka.

Looking ahead, after Monza there is going to be a hell of a lot of damage limitation for McLaren, so Hamilton will want a win³ desperately. McLaren may also run OK at Interlagos, but it is a difficult run in for them. Webber just needs to be on Hamilton's tail at Monza and the title should be within reach.

¹Or does Sebastien Vettel only do damage accumulation
²Unless the grass is longer at Spa
³With some Force Indias ahead of Red Bulls
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Great article MD.
It does sound very much like the answer to McLarens much improved corner speeds.
I am curious as to whether or not it might have an adverse effect on the overall fuel consumption. but that didn't appear to affect McLarens overall performance.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
I'm not sure it would be possible to run a complete race in this configuration.

Red Bull made it clear that the system they devised is very damaging to the engine which is why they limit it to only 1 or 2 laps during qualifying.

Running an entire race like that would most likely see the engine go pop after a handful of laps.

Nice post though MD, just as I was looking for a new feature article too :)
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
TBY - loving the footnotes :)

Singapore and Suzuka will definitely be difficult. I'd imagine that RBR were running less downforce at Spa as well, compared to the McLaren's, in order to maintain some sort of decent straight line speed advantage. So it is likely the the difference in sector 2 would have been exaggerated with equal downforce levels.

As for Monza, It will be nice if there is a Renault as well as the Force India's in front of them. How about McLaren, McLaren, FI, FI, Ferrari, Ferrari, Renault, RBR, RBR? With a further DNF for MW somewhere sown the line? :D

Cheers sportsman, whatever trick they are using, I doubt it would have that big an impact on fuel consumption. I say this because they were using it for far too much of the race, for them to have done so if it did effect fuel consumption. Also, it was used at times when Lewis was 10s clear of the field. I admit it is intriguing me.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
Brogan, the thing is the sound seemed to be coming for a significant portion of the race. Maybe they are using a different tactic to the RedBulls? It definitely seemed to be on for more than a few laps in any case.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
It would be very spectacular if McLaren are able to run an entire race with the engine in an overburn setting. :s But we can't ignore the evidence of our ears, the engine was overburning a lot of the time! :o

The run in to the Championship should be very exciting indeed and with everyone expecting Singapore, Suzuka and Abu Dhabi to favour the Red Bull I feel it my duty to point out that these tracks are are not like Hungary. Also they are all circuits that either Lewis has excelled on or suit his driving style, were I Mark Webber I would be very wary of expecting any clear advantage anywhere. It is going to be nip and tuck all the way to the finish line barring those wretched DNF's.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
snowy said:
The run in to the Championship should be very exciting indeed and with everyone expecting Singapore, Suzuka and Abu Dhabi to favour the Red Bull I feel it my duty to point out that these tracks are are not like Hungary. Also they are all circuits that either Lewis has excelled on or suit his driving style, were I Mark Webber I would be very wary of expecting any clear advantage anywhere. It is going to be nip and tuck all the way to the finish line barring those wretched DNF's.

I would like to clarify that I do not expect a RBR dominance at Singapore/Suzuka/Abu Dhabi based upon RBR's performances at Hungary, more like their performances at Monaco/Silverstone/Valencia. However, if the McLaren has improved in downforce areas to the extent that Danby is suggesting, I would be delighted to be proved wrong.

If McLaren win either Championship it would prove that pace is not always a match for professionalism.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
I think the usual method of introducing overburn is to leave the throttle fractionally open and retard the ignition slightly.Then part of the combustion takes place before the exhaust valve is fully closed.This generates a tremendous amount of heat in the exhaust system hence all the additional heat protection required.
This is an F1 exhaust system without overburn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqO6tEZdUQ0
 

KraXik

Rookie
The McLaren sounded like a WRC car with that overburn. The scary bit is that in one sector Vettel was almost 5ths up. In one sector!!! I feel I would be very foolish to get too excited about the seeming increase in pace by McLaren. 2nd Sector isn't even that twisty! Suzuka is 10times worse! In the slow shots I saw in practice I'm sure the Red Bull wing was still very flexible.

I'm not getting my hopes until Lewis or Jenson are 26 points in front with Abu Dabhi the only race to go.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
KraXik said:
I'm not getting my hopes until Lewis or Jenson are 26 points in front with Abu Dabhi the only race to go.

Just to be pedantic, its not really a hope if Lewis/Jenson is 26 points in front with one race left, more of a celebration!

I'm not sure the issue is that a sector is twisty, I believe McLaren struggle with high aero dependence. That is why they're going to be successful in low aero tracks.

McLaren also pick up points when the track is wet and when RBR trip over themselves!
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
KraXik said:
The McLaren sounded like a WRC car with that overburn. The scary bit is that in one sector Vettel was almost 5ths up. In one sector!!! I feel I would be very foolish to get too excited about the seeming increase in pace by McLaren. 2nd Sector isn't even that twisty! Suzuka is 10times worse! In the slow shots I saw in practice I'm sure the Red Bull wing was still very flexible.

I'm not getting my hopes until Lewis or Jenson are 26 points in front with Abu Dabhi the only race to go.

Are you talking about Sector 2 in the race Krax? The data shown in the post is from the qualifying sector times, more of I gauge I think. Not that I am getting too excited mind you :D I'll wait for the 26 point lead with one race too I think.

TBY, one thing we can take for the McLarens performance on a slippery track I think, is that they must have improved the mechanical grip that was so lacking at Monaco. Hopefully the 4 weeks they have until Singapore will give them the time needed to improve in that area.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Thanks Major, interesting stuff.

I don't think there's any question that the sector times were "equalised" somewhat by McLaren running more wing angle than either RBR or Ferrari. If they'd all been set up identically I think we'd see McLaren with a much bigger advantage in sectors 1 & 3 but conversely a bigger disadvantage in sector 2 (this possibly enough to pop Ferrari ahead of them, or at least in the environs).

The Red Bull frontage (not sure any more if it is just the wing or the whole assembly) is certainly still flexing. Not as much as Hungary perhaps, but this wasn't their maximum downforce wing...

So Monza looks very good for McLaren, Force India and perhaps Kubica as a complicating factor.

As for the overburn, a technical query - does anyone know if there would be any way of doing it on just two cylinders to minimise exhaust heat? I recall McLaren got their engine to idle on just two so they could be first to the end of the pitlane a few years back.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
To me it sounded like they were using it pretty much all the time IMHO.

There is one elephant in the room that no one has addressed (in this thread ;) )

One of the front runners, and I'm looking at Red Bull here, could probably get a grid drop due to an engine change before the end of the season.

That could well put the cat in the wheelie bin amongst the pigeons before the season is out.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
That was a point I was going to touch on there Spesh. The Mercedes engines over the last few years has been seen to be almost bulletfroof so perhaps Mclaren feel more confident in using the EBD for the whole race. They also may have engines fresher than Red Bull, and perhaps Ferrari, so that puts them at another advantage. It obviously didn't help Lewis that the SC came out at the end of the race when he could have turned the revs down and save some of the engine but instead had to push to the line.

P.S. does anyone know where to find the data showing how many and what engines that the teams have used? I've tried the FIA site but couldn't find anything :(
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
Thanks Yorkshire. The Ferrari's are certainly lacking behind their competitors in terms of efficiency. I'm surprised to see Webber being on terms with the Mclarens and Mercedes and essentially being an 'engine up' on his teammate, although we all know that Seb is a car breaker.

I think that table makes Kubica's drive at Spa even more impressive, the engine on it's fourth race! Those stats certainly blow a whole in the myths about the Renault engine being very unreliable. The Renault team (both drivers) may be a spanner in the works of the title race this year if they have more engines to use compared to the others. A race win for Robert before the year is out may not be out of the question...
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
I imagine most teams will also take a new engine to Monza. If we take the case of the McLarens, that will be their 7th engine. After Monza for the final 5 races, they will have 3 engines on 1 race (1,6,7) and then the 8th in reserve. Although it is probably that the first engine has also been used for some practise and qualifying sessions.
 

ATL11

Podium Finisher
Front wing Flex - Unanswered Questions?

Should we not read too much in to RBR & Ferrari's front wings not flexing as much. Their 0.5s 2nd sector advantage over 3 sectors (similar type track) would see a 1.5s advantage as in Hungary, so with less flexing wings they still have a similar advantage. So if it's not the wing is it not the floor flexing and pitching instead?

Must admit loved the sound of the McLaren engine over burn grunt for the Belgian GP, would I be right in that they'd over burn coming into tight corners to create more heat & get more grip from the diffuser, i.e. Bus Stop?
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
Thats the idea, its to equalise the downforce on and off throttle. The second sector advantage was more 0.3s than 0.5s, but still a fair advantage.
 
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