McLaren on 2009: Part One - the aerodynamic rule changes - Mercedes-Benz Forum

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 12-01-2008, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
CH4S Artist
Teutone's Avatar
Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
Location: Los Angeles / Hannover Germany
Posts: 33,433
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Quoted: 936 Post(s)
Lifetime Premium Member
(Thread Starter)
McLaren on 2009: Part One - the aerodynamic rule changes

01 Dec 2008
McLaren on 2009: Part One - the aerodynamic rule changes

With one winter test session already under their belts, McLaren are fully focused on preparations for the 2009 season and the introduction of some of the biggest and most comprehensive rule changes in Formula One history.

The team’s top engineers, aerodynamicists, engine expert, test team manager and test driver spoke to the McLaren press office to bring you an exhaustive analysis of the changes and the impact they’re likely to have…

The Panel
Pedro de la Rosa, Test Driver
Pat Fry, Chief Engineer MP4-24
Ola Kallenius, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines
Indy Lall, Test Team Manager
Paddy Lowe, Director of Engineering
Doug McKiernan, Principal Aerodynamicist

Q: In terms of scale, just how different is the package of technical changes for next year?
Paddy Lowe: It’s probably the biggest set of aerodynamic regulation changes in Formula One’s history. Almost everything - the front and rear wings, the diffuser, floor and bodywork - is affected. I don’t think there’s ever been that level of change.

Pat Fry: It’s just a matter of keeping the team focused on its priorities - it’s a lot to juggle. KERS, for instance, if you get it right, will be worth four tenths in qualifying. And on circuits with a long drag down to the first corner, such as Barcelona, it will be worth 20 metres - or three grid slots. So there are reasonable benefits for getting it right. But we’re just applying the same racing philosophy and fundamentals to the task. We’re not changing the way we use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) or the windtunnel to test things, we’re just working on a new product and we need time to get used to what works and what doesn’t.

Q: Can you outline the regulatory changes that have been made to aerodynamics for 2009?
Doug McKiernan: All the top-body furniture has basically been removed. The rear wing is a lot higher, the diffuser moves rearwards, the front wing has been moved forwards and is lower and wider. The bodywork no longer features deflectors or hydrofoils. When we first went into the windtunnel with our ’09 model, we’d lost well over 50 per cent downforce - and clawing some of that back is an exciting huge challenge when you don’t have the bodywork rules to allow you to do that.

Q: Is it harder to make aerodynamic changes now that the rules no longer permit appendages to the bodywork?
Pat Fry: Yes, but once everything settles down, I think you’ll see teams doing bigger upgrades. For example, you won’t have three little deflector tweaks, some teams will bring an entire new floor or a whole new bib. For 2009, I think we will see performance spread across the field will be bigger. And there’s also the potential for upset and the normal pecking order to be different.

Doug McKiernan: At the moment, our biggest challenge is understanding the flow structures around the car. When you go and change the front wing it’s a huge challenge to recalibrate the understanding of how that wing’s going to perform through a corner. And that device then dictates the flow structures down the car and how they all interact as they go around the car. The flow is now much less constrained - there used to be very obvious devices for controlling flow structures around the car. Now we’re doing it with other parts - so it’s more difficult. So your objectives are similar but the challenge is harder.

Q: Will there still be the normal upgrade from the launch-spec to the first race?
Paddy Lowe: Absolutely. The launch car package was finished in the windtunnel several weeks ago. The pattern has become that you significantly re-clothe the car between launch and first race in any case - that’s without such drastic changes to regulations. And the launch cars will bear little resemblance to how they appear in Melbourne.

Doug McKiernan: In these early days, the rate of development is high and each team will be finding a lot more performance because the optimisation is still very embryonic. So every time you spend another two or three weeks in the tunnel, you can probably justify a complete new floor. Another few weeks and you’ll definitely have a new front wing. The regulations have basically put a reset button on aerodynamics - and there’s still lots we can play with. That’s what we enjoy!

Q: Do you miss all the aero ‘toys’?
Doug McKiernan: Personally, no; I think this is great. Aerodynamically it’s a great challenge - it’s a big motivator for the team to get stuck into something different.

Coming up in Part Two - KERS, engines, and how the changes will impact the racing.
Teutone is offline  
Sponsored Links

  Mercedes-Benz Forum > General Mercedes-Benz Forums > Mercedes-Benz Motorsports & Racing

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mercedes-Benz Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


  • Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
    Thread Tools
    Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
    Email this Page Email this Page
    Display Modes
    Linear Mode Linear Mode

    Similar Threads
    Topic Author Forum Replies Last Post
    A beginner’s guide to the 2009 rule changes Teutone Mercedes-Benz Motorsports & Racing 3 12-14-2008 03:41 AM
    Jlevi SW | Vorsteiner W211 E55 Aerodynamic Line Nick@Jlevi SW W211 E55 AMG, E63 AMG 4 09-06-2007 12:06 PM
    aerodynamic kit and modifide cars alhabeeb R129 SL-Class 3 02-10-2007 09:19 PM
    OT..Too much aerodynamic is no good.... JimB W163 M-Class 6 10-03-2002 09:48 PM
    SLK Aerodynamic Noise Steve R170 SLK-Class 1 01-30-2001 02:53 PM

    Posting Rules  
    You may post new threads
    You may post replies
    You may not post attachments
    You may not edit your posts

    BB code is On
    Smilies are On
    [IMG] code is On
    HTML code is Off
    Trackbacks are On
    Pingbacks are On
    Refbacks are On


    Title goes here

    video goes here
    description goes here. Read Full Story
    For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome