Technical analysis – Barcelona



If the MP4-31’s pace matched the team’s development, it’s not too crazy to think the latest Woking challenger could challenge the dominant Mercedes W07. While the McLaren remains some way behind the class of the field, its maiden Q3 appearance in Barcelona shows that progress is constant within the British team.

Chief engineer Peter Prodromou seems to be fine-tuning the McLaren package by small increments. Already tweaked in Bahrain and Sochi, the front wing was revised once more, both in the inner and outer sections. On the outside, by the endplate, the footplate has been significantly widened (see blue arrows and areas). As it gets closer to the tyre, the footplate narrows and gives ways to arches that are both more numerous and more pronounced (see white arrows). The idea here is to create a vortex to fend off the dirty wake coming off the rotating wheels. One can also notice that a mini-winglet (coloured in red) has been added to the ‘r’ cascade. On the inner section, the two upper flaps have been revamped and their ends are now serrated (see yellow outlines), in a bid to improve the way the Y250 vortex works.

McLaren only had one specimen of the new front wing, which was mounted on Jenson Button’s MP4-31 during the race.