M cLaren is Red Bull's big challenger at the moment. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button use their chances, even if the profile of the track does not suit the car as much, as was the case last time in Valencia. Nevertheless, the two British world champions finished second and third. Others really lose points in such a case.
McLaren: F-slot advantage dwindles
The McLaren MP4-25 still has some weaknesses despite four wins. The more downforce is required, the greater the lead of Red Bull. Sometimes McLaren managed to compensate for the deficit thanks to the F-shaft, whose theoretical top speed advantage was then converted into a steeper pitch of the rear wing, which could not have been afforded , you wouldn't have this trick on board. But the F-slot advantage is disappearing. Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are now driving it too, and they understand the principle better every time.
In the race, the McLaren seems to be a different car than in practice. 'Red Bull's lead in qualifying is sometimes terrifying,' admits Jenson Button. The weakness of the chrome-colored cars on one lap is easy to explain. Because the aerodynamics only work in a narrow window, the chassis has to be trimmed to the extreme. With little fuel on board, the tires heat up insufficiently. That costs the McLaren drivers time, especially in slow corners. Weight helps in the race.
Button: Aerodynamics package against weak training
That should be over from Silverstone. Jenson Button does not give the opponents courage. 'Our aerodynamics package for Silverstone will cure our training weakness.' At the home game, McLaren also appears with the blown diffuser, an idea that everyone is currently copying from Red Bull. The exhaust pipe ends at the side and blows the exhaust gases into the critical zone between the rear wheels and the fairing. This calms the flow on the top of the subfloor, which means that the diffuser itself can work better and less sensitive. McLaren will be able to drive a little softer, which will heat up the tires better and improve driving comfort in qualifying.
Whether it will be enough to challenge Red Bull at Silverstone remains to be seen. Silverstone, like Suzuka and Barcelona, is Red Bull's parade route. A course as drawn for the dark blue cars. A mix of fast and slow corners, thebut a relatively high amount of downforce also requires good top speed. In other words: It depends on efficient aerodynamics. In Barcelona, the Red Bulls proved to be unbeatable. A second was between Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and the rest. The competition has caught up since then. The question will be how much.
Red Bull stays calm
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is confident: 'In Valencia we only had a few small changes to the car. It was the smallest Progress throughout the season. Our opponents have upgraded there with B-versions. Now we are following in Silverstone.
Christian Horner, his colleague from Red Bull, calms down: 'Our opponents overestimate the benefits of the blown diffuser. It doesn't bring more than two or three tenths.' Sebastian Vettel adds: 'It brings something, but only in conjunction with a whole package. And that includes our rear axle with the tension struts. But no one can copy them during the season.'