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McLaren-Honda MP4-30 for 2015 in the technical check

Wilhelm /xpb
McLaren-Honda MP4-30 for 2015 in the technical check
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M cLaren- Honda brings back many memories. Almost only good ones. In 1988 the English-Japanese co-production won 15 of 16 trophies. And also cleared the World Cup titles in 1989, 1990 and 1992. Once with the V6 turbo, twice with the ten-cylinder naturally aspirated engine and finally with a V12. Honda was considered the benchmark in engine construction 25 years ago. The Japanese still owe the proof. The new V6 turbo hybrid is still weak.

McLaren has moved away from its design line for the first time. Project manager Tim Goss and chief designer Neil Oatley are McLaren veterans, but the appearance is determined by the aerodynamicists. And this department was filled with a lot of new people.

At the helm with Peter Prodromou, who was once at McLaren before joining Red Bull with Adrian Newey. Since September 2014 he has been drawing for McLaren again. The MP4-30 already bears his signature unmistakably. Team boss Eric Boullier spoke of the most extreme car in the field. None is as flat, so slim, as petite as the new McLaren. Is that correct? We checked it.

That caught our eye

The McLaren counts next to the Red Bull, Williams and Lotus to the longer cars in the field. But that's not what sets the MP4-30 apart. But the proportions between the axes do. Only with the new Lotus E23 does the driver sit so far ahead. The distance between the side box and the front wheel is remarkably short on the McLaren, the distance from the cockpit back wall to the rear axle is unusually long.

McLaren is probably right in saying that no other car is so narrow at the rear. But at what price? You need extra length to pull in the side pods that far. The move is by no means earlier than other cars. Prodromou and his colleagues only found more space in the back to build a super slim and flat waist.

The front section - extremely from the nose up to the brake ventilation

The nose is deep. Very deep. And knife-thin in profile. The stilts for the front wing are exposed. Visually a pleasure. But does this solution offer the same aerodynamic advantages as the short nose from Mercedes? McLaren is also working on a shorter nose.

The car is still too slow to tell whether you have a nose that covers the front wingtowered over by a good 20 centimeters, can also have success. We know the grand piano from the 2014 final in Abu Dhabi. There he was briefly tested. A work of art made up of 11 horizontal elements and three floors, each with four vertical splinters in the outer area.

The front brake ventilation also has a very special signature. They form a C shape around the front tire. The handlebar and wishbone of the front suspension are McLaren-like on the same level. Like Ferrari and Red Bull, McLaren directs part of the air sucked in for brake cooling through the front axle and lets it out again in the rim. This optimizes the airflow around the car further back.

Between the axles - side pods with less belly

The chassis looks more delicate behind the front wheels than last year. The side pods are more massive at the front, but much flatter at the rear. And clearly slimmer than the old MP4-29 when viewed from above. Even at the front of the cooling inlet, which is relatively large. A concession to Honda. As a newcomer, Honda doesn't want to take any chances when it comes to cooling the engine and its hybrid components. The two-part airbox opening reveals that the lower duct branches off air to various coolers.

The profile of the side boxes has an idiosyncratic shape. The side panels form a dent in half. After that it will be really flat. From above you can see a lot of free space on the sub-floor. What helps the diffuser.

Slats and baffles around the cooling inlets were given a new shape. A wing is still missing, but can still come. The vertical flow straighteners on the edge of the side box are already there. This conventional solution has been adopted unchanged from the previous year.

McLaren is also going its own way with the side cockpit bulges that accommodate the head and neck protection for the driver. The side wall drops off abruptly just behind the cockpit. All others let them drain gently into the engine cover. The airbox is incredibly long, relatively thick and also drops down very late. The fin is missing at the top. Only the Red Bull has that. Didn't Prodromou come from this team?

The rear end - totally new concept

The rear axle is inRelatively low compared to many competing products. Perhaps that is why McLaren places so much emphasis on the design of the wishbones. Only the pull rod is a boring round bar. The rear wing suspension, which grows from the engine cover and not from the transmission or the crash structure, is elegant. This way, the air that comes out of the fairing around the exhaust is not disturbed. The engine cover had to be reinforced in this area with a special material.

In the rear view, nothing reminds of the previous model. The air outlets to the right and left of the exhaust crouch much flatter over the diffuser. A monkey seat is still missing. The seven-part diffuser is designed differently in the middle. The vertical partitions are straighter in the middle than in 2014, but angled more outward on the sides. The small vertical slots in the rear wing end plates have been copied from Ferrari. The rear brake flaps have two more pronounced wings at the top than in the previous season.

Technical conclusion on the McLaren-Honda MP4-30

It's true: This car stands out from all others . But nobody knows yet what the McLaren-Honda can do if it is left off the chain. Problems in the engine environment only allowed laps at half throttle in Jerez. In terms of driver line-up, McLaren could become world champions. The car makes a good and well thought-out impression. The biggest question mark is and will remain the engine.


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