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Formula 1 technology update: McLaren introduces S-shaft

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F he McLaren fans started the season in Melbourne bitter disappointment. Because of problems with the drive, Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen only got a place on the back row. Magnussen didn't even get that far: his Honda engine crumbled in the installation round.

McLaren with first aero update in Malaysia

The V6 hybrid package was already included made problems for the test drives in Spain. Because of the limited driving time, the engineers also had to postpone some aerodynamic developments. With the exception of small retouching on the front wing, the MP4-30 still showed the same aero specification at the beginning of the season as at the presentation.

But in Malaysia the technicians are apparently daring the first bigger step. An interesting technical update was already visible in the front part of the chrome arrow during pit stop training on Thursday. The McLaren was equipped with a so-called S-slot in the nose.

With this feature, the air flow is directed from the underside of the front section through the chassis and blown out again in front of the cockpit. The McLaren isn't the only car to have this aero trick on board. Force India and Red Bull are also on the road with an S-shaft in the front.

S-shaft reduces air resistance

However, McLaren fans cannot expect any major progress. The S-bay provides a small improvement in the flow in front of the cockpit. Big leaps in terms of lap time are not possible with it.

'The S-duct separates the air from the surface,' explains Force India Technical Director Andy Green. 'If the air flows directly along the chassis, the friction increases the air resistance. The effect is not particularly great, but there are no other disadvantages due to the S-duct. So I wonder a little why we don't see it on more cars. '

In our gallery we show you with exclusive pictures what the McLaren solution looks like and also show you the versions of the competition.

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