Friday, February 4, 2011

McLaren Unveil their 2011 Formula 1 Challenger

I've posted a lot recently, but I really couldn't hold this one back. I am not only a huge Formula 1 fan, but have grown increasingly fond of our silver cars from Woking. Watching the scraps between Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button let alone the rest of the field makes Sunday afternoon Grand Prix unmissable for me.

The McLaren MP4-26 - Click for more pictures!

Anyway, if you have been following the pre-season testing news, you will already know that, while most teams have unveiled their 2011 cars at the first test of the year at Valencia, McLaren took along last years car. All week we have been waiting with baited breath to see what McLaren have come up with... Now we know.

I'm not an engineer, but if this thing goes half as fast as it looks, god help the opposition. I know, I know... All Formula 1 cars look fast, but check out the rest of the pictures to see what I mean.

These 'L' shaped side pods look fantastic, like something out of the Thunderbirds! They do have a practical basis, allowing more airflow through to the rear wing. Speaking of wings, check out the front wing design... I think this is the most elaborate combination of elements I have ever seen on a racing car.
More detail of that amazing front wing

Looking through the rear wing, you can see how the air will be channelled between the central engine cover and the side pods. Below you can see the 2011 spec diffuser. Regulations have been tightened up here, so no double decker designs like last year.

Reporters at the launch have said that Lewis and Jenson couldn't keep the smiles off their faces... Looks like they couldn't keep their hands off their new toy either!

All together now, 'You can't get better than a Quick Fit Fitter...'

Another view of those striking side pods. 

It may not have six wheels or a giant fan attached to the back, but this is about as radical as the rules allow these days. Somehow, I feel that this design encapsulates the pioneering spirit of Formula 1 in the 70's. We all like to see a designer who isn't afraid to take a different direction and try something new.

Another striking design, the air box features a double intake. Space under the engine cover is so tight due to the innovative design that extra cooling is needed.

Often, I have a little moan about the tightness of the regulation in Formula 1 these days. Just for once, I would like to see someone really take a risk and design something radical, new and different. I wish we still had people like Ken Tyrell and Colin Chapman... Men who thought outside the box. Looking at the new McLaren, I now know I was asking for the wrong thing. Those men are still there, and they are still thinking outside the box. Let's hope the 2011 McLaren really is as fast as it looks.

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