Cut To The Race Podcast

McLaren find loophole in aero rules

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McLaren will be extremely happy with their first full day and a half of testing, with Lando Norris finishing the day with the second quickest time and his team mate Daniel Ricciardo in seventh, despite posting the fastest time in the morning session. 

It is a welcome sight to see McLaren at the front, with the new aerodynamic changes posing a challenge for some of the teams this year. Aimed at reducing downforce, it has forced some of the teams to look at ways of recovering the losses, and it seems McLaren may have got it right.

Much of the focus has been on the floors, with Mercedes sporting an intriguing floor design when they broke cover yesterday. There have also been changes in the rules to the brake ducts and the diffuser. It seems McLaren have found a clever way of working around the changes, in particular to the diffuser.

They remained secretive when revealing their car at the beginning of the month, with team personnel hiding the rear of the car, and images released from the “filming day” after the launch showed no images of the rear. Now we know that they did not want to share this new idea of theirs with their rivals.

The diffuser harnesses air flow under the car to create more downforce, so the FIA have ruled that this year, the height of the dividing strakes between it’s channels need to be 50mm shorter, and stick out less far downwards. McLaren have done something a little different that actually allows part of the diffuser to stick out further.

McLaren MCL35 diffuser detail

They have found a way to extend the floor transition rearward to create two strakes below the theoretical cut line. These taller inboard strakes then gradually extrude upwards and outwards as the diffuser’s ceiling expands outwards.

This “trick” will no doubt be evaluated by other teams, but it is unlikely that they would be able to copy the concept just yet. With a one day left of testing, and two weeks until the first race, it may be a while before we see any other team sporting the change.


Image Credit: Giorgio Piola/Formula One

  1. I am anxious to see how young Lando can do in a proper car against a proper teammate. And, happy to see Macca back in the hunt!

  2. whatever the philosophies I have no idea on what’s the F1’s double standards ruling, however the last year were the AMG Mercs allows Double axis steering front wheel

  3. The maccas?? Did anyone ever call them that? Lol but yes excited for the Woking outfit too

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