A closer look at the McLaren-Honda MP4-31

Motor Racing - Formula One Testing - Test One - Day 1 - Barcelona, Spain


McLaren still runs a high rake angle on its MP4-31 with the front end much lower than the back of the car. Chief engineer Peter Prodromou thus carries on treading the path he started to walk when he was working at Red Bull. By raising the rear ride-height, aerodynamicists look to increase the diffuser’s volume, and by extension its efficiency. The thing is, the higher the diffuser gets, the more exposed it also is: turbulences – mostly coming off the rotating front wheels – enter the low-pressure area laterally, which might end up hampering the diffuser’s effectiveness. This is the reason why aerodynamicists try to generate a series of vortices to seal the diffuser’s edges as much as possible.

By further embracing the ‘rake’ philosophy (also seen at Force India) engineers at Woking show they are confident they have overcome any splitter friction issues and protected the diffuser’s edges really well.