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'Neat and tidy' MCL33 gives McLaren room to play

McLaren MCL33
© McLaren

McLaren's Tim Goss says that this year's new car design will allow the team to make continuous improvements throughout the season.

McLaren has described their new contender as "a logical development of last year’s car", developed and refined with all the lessons learned in a bruising campaign in 2017.

“With last year’s car, we had to commit to certain decisions about architecture based on what we knew at the time,” said Goss, who is the team's chief technical officer on the chassis side.

“With a year of track learning behind us, we’ve used that understanding to adjust some architectural decisions," he continued. "That means we’ve been able to revise all the sorts of things you bake into the chassis at the start of the year.”

“We’re definitely continuing along the same trajectory,” he agreed. "For launch, the car will look evolutionary.

"We will continue enhancing the MCL33 through testing and the race season," he added.

Goss said that it had been important to make the car as a whole look neater, simpler and more elegant.

“That’s always been an area of focus for us,” he said. "But this year we went beyond to get a neat and tidy packaging solution. And that just gives the aerodynamicists more scope to play with the bodywork."

The team has had to accomodate a change of power unit from Honda to Renault. The decision to change engine partners was made late in the day, and had significant repercussions.

“That change has been a big deal,” Goss acknowledged. “Even though the regulations state that the front and rear engine mounts need to be the same for every manufacturer.

"The layout of the engine, its architecture, is very different from before.

"The advantage of the Renault layout means that we can push the engine forwards," he explained. "But then you have the compressor at the back of the engine. You’ve got to get the outlet pipes forward without impacting the packaging.

“We had to redesign the back of the chassis, the gearbox bell-housing area, the rear suspension, and the cooling layout. That was two weeks of intense effort to get right.

"But it was something we were somewhat prepared for, because we knew it might happen," he pointed out.

"It’s amazing what people can do in such a short space of time when the chips are down and you’ve got a really clear mission.

“So now we’ve got a really tidy packaging solution; the gearbox and rear suspension designers did an unbelievable job to redesign everything.”

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