McLaren’s technical innovations have put the MP4/23 ahead of the pack

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The McLarem-Mercedes MP4/23 has become the car to beat

McLaren have made a clear step forward in performance in the last two races and Ferrari have struggled to compete.

What has made McLaren so competitive all of a sudden? Like every other team they constantly develop their car through the season but three particular changes seem to have made a significant different: a new front wing, an unusual sidepod development, and a clever traction system that’s got everyone talking.

Front wing

Close-up of detail on the McLaren front wing

McLaren revised its front wing at Magny-Cours and again at Silverstone. With up to six different elements – four on the main plane, two on the ‘bridge’ – it is among the most complex.

At Magny-Cours the team added two vertical sections underneath the wing next to each endplate and flattened the profile of the endplates as well.

At Silverstone McLaren split the lower front part of the wing and changed how it connects to the nose. According to “This new configuration increases downforce but more importantly diminishes the front end’s sensitivity to load variations, thus improving the stability of its aero balance.”


Heikki Kovalainen tested the asymmetrical sidepods on the McLaren at Hockenheim but did not race them

One of the more unusual looking developments of the past two races has been an asymmetric side pod layout. When viewed from the front you can clearly see Hamilton’s right-hand sidepod opens far wider than the one on his left.

He ran with this configuration during the German Grand Prix although Kovalainen did not. Kovalainen did test the layout on Friday, however. It was also used at Silverstone.

The sidepod with the smaller aperture can be used when the engine requires less cooling. It is more effective in directing the air flow around the car.

Traction shift

One of the most interesting and potentially controversial developments on the MP4/23 is a new system to improve traction. The steering wheel has an extra two paddles next to the gear shifts which allow the drivers to optimise the engine torque for each corner.

Mark Hughes in the Daily Telegraph explains how it works:

The lower two allow different engine torque settings to be chosen. Using two fingers at the same time allows the car always to have the most favourable engine torque setting for each gear, thus giving the driver a tool for limiting wheelspin out of slow corners without then suffering a reduction in power in the higher gears, where wheelspin is not an issue.

We saw earlier in the season McLaren in general and Lewis Hamilton in particular suffering with tyre wear. After the British Grand Prix Heikki Kovalainen admitted he had not done as well as Hamilton in managing his tyres. Was that because Hamilton had got up to speed on the new system more quickly?

The developments is interesting for all sorts of other reasons. Will rival teams copy it or try to protest it? (Most likely they’ll try the first and resort to the second if they can’t do it).

If it is protested, might the FIA decide it goes against the spirit of the rule banning traction control?

What’s next?

In German Grand Prix testing at the Hockenheimring the team tried a ‘shark fin’ extended rear engine cover as Red Bull, Williams, Renault and Force Infia have been using.

That may make an appearance at the Hungaroring along with other mechanical and aerodynamic revisions the team is expected to test at Jerez this week.

Ron Dennis expects the team to be strong at the Hungaroring:

I can’t see that we’ll be any less strong in Hungary. And the car will look a bit different there, so we’ll see.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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83 comments on “McLaren’s technical innovations have put the MP4/23 ahead of the pack”

  1. That traction thing has me worried. Just have to wait and see if anyone complains.

    McLaren has that really distinct rear wing. Thing of beauty.

  2. I love these technical posts, I think it would be great if you could focus on the intricacies of each car.

  3. Thanks Dan! I’ll try to do more in the future…

  4. Hamilton and his McMerc were in a class of their own in the past couple of races,looks like he has come to terms with the new set up better than Heikki.

  5. side pod intakes like that reduce drag

    its not only the side pods that are asymmetrical, but the barge boards, the right hand side barge boards on both MP4/23’s are corrugated at the bottom.

  6. i mean left hand side, sorry.

  7. the traction system sounds like manual TC. First look at data from practice and then program the buttons according to gear.

    I’d like to know exactly how much the driver has to deal with during a race in terms of settings.

  8. The traction thing has me worried as well. What’s to stop Max from declaring it illegal and stripping McLaren of points?

  9. to those of you worried by the Torque Control, its just segragation at the drivers finger tips. but yeah, its a huge advantage.

    Essentially its an E Diff controlled by finger tips.

  10. Keith,

    I agree with Dan about the technical stuffs: is great to read those posts!

    By the way Wesley brings out something to think about: Lewis seems to be improving his technical approach on car set up. In 2007 we didn´t see McLaren dominating and trouncing the field as they did on the last two races.

    All that fuss about Fernando inputs in 2007 seems to be forgotten right now while R 28 are fading in the middle of the field race by race with the same Fernando inputs.

    What team develops better his car? I don’t have any doubt about that and reading that Fernando has used Nelson´s set up yesterday, I think that “Fernando, El engeniero” hype is much damaged right now.

    About Ferrari, Livio Orrichio, another Brazilian insider, made a “strange” (for me) statement today, considering that Ferrari has a lack of technical structure comparatively with McLaren. Livio quoted Luca Baldisseri who said that Ferrari has only one wind tunnel in Maranello. This tunnel is shared between the 2009 car project and the F2008 development.

    About the four paddles I read somewhere (I will try to find where a read that because a really cant remember) that another four teams uses the same concept. So if this is true, McLaren (and other teams) is clean.

  11. @Becken: Actually I’ve read that Ferrari have started using Dallara’s wind tunnel for their 2009 work.

  12. Hi all!
    I won’t try to hide my spanish origin (only 28Km from Oviedo, really) and being an Alonso fan. Great webpage, by the way, that is what brough me here. And congratulations to a Hamilton that starts looking error-free again and was always quick.
    Becken, where did you read that Fernando used Nelson’s setup? I would like to read it for myself. I can well imagine (we have seen that before) Fernando getting the setup all wrong himself, but copying the setup of a teammate who as stuck in Q1 looks ilogical… and unfernandesque!
    About the assymetrical sidepods, an assymetrical car should have a natural tendency to rotate to one side rather than go stright. I believe Nascars and Indycars are setup like that for oval circuits. Can it be that making a car that naturally turns in the direction in the toughest corner (thus making that corner more straight relative to the natural tendency of the car) allows extra setup space for all other corners?

  13. Sush: in my understanding a differential only controls the power between left and right. this controls engine management and thus the output of power and not which wheel it goes to.

    Thanks for the tech news. Post up as much detail as you can find :)

  14. amen to more of this. and not just the front runners,please. good one. i actually have to wait until after work to read it.

  15. Hola, José

    Well, this came from Nelson´s mouth on the post race. He actually said:

    “The car was getting better and better and our set-up was working very well. Fernando even used a bit of our set-up as I think they went the wrong way a bit.”

    The link:

    Let´s see if Fernando will deny that. I assure you he will not!

    INTERNET: Good info. I will check out! Thanks!

  16. To the guys who like reading articles about technical developments, you will find a lot of these at

    especially under “Development Blog” and “Technical Articles”. There are a lot of discussions in the forums as well.

  17. Also I’ve heard about the 4 paddle steering wheel before, but only in the context of the driver being able to upshift/downshift using the same hand while his other hand is preoccupied. So top left -> gear down, bottom left -> gear up, top right -> gear up, bottom right -> gear down.

  18. Internet – yeah I’ve heard that before as well, in case a driver has to take their hand off the wheel to use the radio / remove a tear-off / have a discreet scratch etc…

  19. Fergus Gallas
    22nd July 2008, 0:04

    Congrats on this technical post.
    I do agree with Polak, this really looks like manual TC.

  20. Huge difference between this and “TC”.

    With a modified map, it will still happily spin the wheels, throw the back end, etc.. if you floor it.

    A better analogy is that they can tame their 750 BHP
    monster into a 400 BHP super-hot hatch in 1st, 600BHP in second, and 750 in the higher gears. (ok, I’m making
    up the numbers, and I should be talking torque and not
    the more familiar and iconic BHP — but I think the
    gist is correct). Driver still needs to take full control of the throttle – this just makes it easier in low gears.

    I gather that with TC they would sit with the
    pedal fully depressed (how appropriate!) out of every corner and let the car control its own throttle.

    I changing maps is allowed, the rules were an ill-thought out hash intended to make map
    changes sufficiently inconvenient that they
    would be infrequent.

    Macca has followed the letter of the rule, but not the
    spirit. Serves FIA right for yet another bloody stupid
    rule. If they want map changes to be infrequent, legislate *that* and not pointless details of the implementation of map changes.


  21. Fergus Gallas
    22nd July 2008, 3:09

    And if this “traction shift” + Centralina elettronica Microsoft/McLaren = ??
    I’m affraid the fuss just gone start all over again…already seen something in racing blogs…

  22. FIA carrying out further checks on Hamilton’s engine.

    “The engine of car number 22 is kept sealed in order to carry out further checks according to Article 5 of the 2008 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. These checks will be done before the Hungarian GP.”

  23. I am sure that we are not the only ones examining in fine detail the improvements of McLaren’s current car, especially the ‘little men in red overalls’ I would wager.
    On a more serious note, I think we should all look at this in context. We are still, God willing, eight grands prix away from deciding who is going to be champion.
    We still have the superfast circuits of Monza and Spa to enjoy, not to mention the ‘unknown’ circuits of Valencia and Singapore. Plenty of time for Ferrari to
    mount a counterattack.
    One thing is for certain, is that McLaren have upped their game enormously since Canada, and Hamilton has made good on this progress. The way inwhich Hamilton reeled in Massa, especially down into the hairpin off the back straight, was very impressive.
    If I am not mistaken, Massa recorded one of the fastest times down that straight earlier in the weekend, clocking a little over 197mph.
    Ferrari must be scratching their heads a little at the moment, as to McLaren’s newfound speed and, daresayit, reliability.
    For them, breaking Hamilton’s run of success is now vital. Oh, as always Keith, a very nicely laid out article with some very informative titbits. Cheers.

  24. At least all of you have noticed that there must be something more that a Hamiltonian hability to drive…….

  25. Thanks Keith for this particular post.
    Dont think FIA should ban the traction shift part for MCL or strip their points. Seems like a debatable thing though! And if indeed that happens (which may spoil the chance for MCL the WCC), Ron will scratch his head second year in a row!!
    And Keith, Any technical updates on developments for next year for the cinstructors?

  26. wht is article 5 of FIA regulations

  27. Oh dear. There’s only a small step from “McLaren Technical Innovation” to “McLaren Technical Innovation Banned” – how soon before season’s end will we see this “traction shift” ordered to be removed by Charlie Whiting? When Lewis is 10 points ahead of Massa with 2 races left?

  28. I like technical articles too. also look at technical developments every race… although I’d love to see something like this regularly grace these here pages :)

  29. It’s interesting reading , especially on the traction thing. The thought crossed my mind after Silverstone , in fact I commented that Lewis’ car looked about as stable in the wet high speed corners as a car running TC. So now we know the reason. Clever of McLaren , and that’s what development is all about , will be interesting to see if it’s within the FIA rules and other teams follow. Again though , shows that F1 has become so technological , that even a brilliant driver but without the latest and best equipment , has no chance.

  30. Well, we can all expect the new McLaren innovation to be banned before Hungary then – Internet #22 – especially if Ferrari aren’t one of the other teams using it!
    Its nice to see that El Technico has used his team-mates set ups for once, although I’m sure that means that he will blame Nelson for his appalling race in Germany!
    And Keith, yes, lets see more of these technical notes on all the teams – especially why the ‘Shark Fin’ is so popular at the moment, since it must make the cars more vulnerable to side-winds!

  31. And another technical question, I thought next year the cars are not allowed to be so aerodynamic – I am expecting them all to look like GP2 cars, or even Formula Renault cars, so why is Ferrari meddling in wind tunnels?

  32. Well, I absolutely agree with Jean @ 29, that without this innovation most probably it would not have been possible for MCL to win back to back GPs even after taking into account the astonishing driving of Lewis.
    Did MCL place this into KOVI’s car also? He certainly looked very much off the pace compared to HAM

  33. Jonesracing82
    22nd July 2008, 9:13

    the traction thing has me worried also, even driver operated i dont at all like it! but i bet thats Ferrari’s courtroom battle for this year!
    each year they r in a title battle they resort to the courtroom to get a ruling which favours them, we are still waiting one this year!
    ’03 = michelin tyres
    ’06 = mass damper
    ’07 spy scandal
    ’08 illegal TC?
    watch this space!

  34. So, how long do you guys reckon’ It’ll take for Ferrari to adopt it or for FIA to ban it?

  35. 98 – Third break pedal
    99 (I think) – cooled fuel

    The third break pedal was in about 6 teams cars but because Ferrari couldn’t get it to work it got banned.

  36. Forget Ferraris.. Personamy methinks MCL should not have used this traction shift part, though driver operated. Something like Renault did in 2006 adding that mass damper which FIA forced them to remove. Though it needs to be investigated how much does it actually help a driver while making sharp turns. As I said earlier, the point is whether the TS was present in KOVI’s car or not. KOVI was almost half a second slower than his team mate, and if both cars were similar, then was KOVI not aware at all about the development? ;)

  37. Well now when they have permit from FIA to develop their car again. Remember FIA conspiracy and deal made after espionage scandal.

    Just added comment on another story before reading this.

  38. Hm, raises more questions than answers. On the face it,

    Scenario 1
    It’s a simple system which exploits an ambiguity in the rulebook. McLaren have divided one paddle into two, but driver input is effectively done by a single movement. In favour of such an interpretation is, a) designers do not want to make the driver environment more complicated, and b) the fact that other teams have not done the same, not because they couldn’t concieve of the idea but because there is a consensus about the rule (that gearshift and torque-control must not be made with a single driver input) – in other words a situation similar to BAR’s “imaginative” interpretation of how a car should be weighed a few years back.

    Scenario 2
    It’s an ingenious new system which not only would force FIA to either accept it or to change the rulebook, but which also takes practice and niftyness to handle. In favour of such an interpretation is the immense gap in performance between LH and HK (assuming of course HK is using the same system.)

  39. Very, very interesting indeed!

    I cuoldn’t believe just how quick the car had seemed to get all of a sudden – couldn’t work out how a few aero tweaks could have had such an effect.

    But if this traction stuff is real then it would appear to be the real cause of the improvements. Perhaps Heikki didn’t run with this setup to hedge their bets in case constructors points were deducted?

    While it may not actually go against the rules, I think it’s similar to the engine map scenario where drivers can still get away cleanly off the grid.

    If they want an engine with 750bhp then they should have 750bhp over every single metre of the track – the best drivers would handle it and the rest wouldn’t. Isn’t that why they banned TC in the first place?

    Will be interesting to see how this develops – no doubt it will be banned soon enough, and then the conspiracy theorists can bring up the FIArrari stuff that appears every year!

  40. Engine maps are also used to prevent excessive stresses on the engines during a race. The fact that the supposed innovation requires constant driver input would imply an increased work load for a driver, as such its possible that not all drivers will be able to make use of such a fascility.
    I am also of the view that this in no way mimics traction control. Traction control was an active vehicle stability mechanism, whereas this system is just a passive, driver induced engine power restrictor..supposedly. Not a bid deal if u ask me.

  41. Nirupam @ 36 I like the way you think . It’s also been a mystery howcome suddenly Heikki is so much slower in the race than Lewis. We know Lewis is good , but the car lately has made him seem even better. Craig @ 39 I hope the issue is straightened soon enough , maybe before the Hungarian GP – sure many will again say it’s Ferrari with sour grapes etc. , but think back to the “bendy floor” Melbourne ’07 , Ferrari had a small advantage , and Ron made sure it was wipped away from them there and then.

  42. One thing I would like to add, no matter what FIA is going to do with this latest invention, hats off to the engineers, they continue to be able to force FIA to rethink about their rules :)

  43. Fergus Gallas
    22nd July 2008, 14:09

    I think that it is not safe to say that this TS “in no way mimics traction control”, we don’t “really” know how it works. We are just aware that it does exists and it looks like an advantage. This is the way i understand this, and as Nirupam said – hats off to the engineers.

  44. Traction Control worked by controlling engine power and the differential. It worked instantly being controlled by electronics.

    Now the driver has the same tools as TC but he has to set it up before each relevant corner. I think they have differential settings on the steering wheel and now they can control the engine power. How is this not TC? Its all the aspects of last year, but with the electronics taken out.
    Now if they tune this to specific problematic corners during testing it will be very affective.

  45. @Polak

    The driver has always had the same tools as TC – it is his right foot. The difference between a map change and TC is enormous.

    The instant, electronic response of TC means the driver
    never has to lift the accelerator to maintain traction.

    In both the “single map” and “map changing” modes, the
    driver still does not get the throttle dynamically lifted
    for him by the electronics when the wheels start to slip.

    It’s simply like tweaking the gain of an amplifier for the right foot in these fly-by-wire systems, but NOT engaging autopilot.
    The electronics doesn’t feed back info from the wheels to maintain traction.


  46. One thing to recall is that every car’s steering wheel goes through the FIA for approval. Secondly, I can’t imagine such variable maps being useful apart from the start. From corner to corner the throttle will behave differently.

  47. Kieth, keep up the great posts
    Jose, yeah I saw the Fernando taking Piquet’s settings at among other places

    I greatly prefer the technical info on the cars in terms of postings, as a designer I think that’s the thing (apart from the amazing drivers) that keeps me coming back to F1 over other formulae of racing.

    From my vague guesses on throttle control earlier in the year to an actual “traction option” generated by these split paddles, it’s really something what these teams have set up.

    The thing that’s more amazing is that Lewis and Hekki had enough testing time with the split paddles to make them work for them. It’s tough enough to spend 3-4 years working with “right paddle shift up, left paddle shift down” and then to be thrown to the wolves in a separate week and to react at that speed to “high torque upshift top right, low torque upshift down right” and be able to make those decisions over the course of a race all correctly (especially considering having to blast through the whole field.)

    Is it a technical advantage,, yes!
    The more correct question is the legality, and as they are not changing the map, only selecting a different map in an analog manner (it’s legally no different than selecting a map dial).

    Look for complaints from the old guard about “learning a new way to shift” in the next few races!

  48. Keith, how about the Mobil-1 NT oil that McLaren started using lately ? It is rumored to have given them at least a tenth per lap.

  49. As far as I’m concerned that traction system is preventing the car from wheelspinning by controlling the amount of torque coming out from the engine. It is therefore electrically controlled at the flick of a button.

    Now the loophole here is that McLaren will argue that it requires a manual process to engage this electronical action.

    Personally as far as I’m concerned it’s completely legal but against the spirit of competition and the FIA should amend the rulebook to say that anything that comes close to mimicing the effects of traction control should be banned – hence this system should be banned.

    Can’t have any decent racing without something stupid taking place and the politics is ruining what is promising to be a really good season.

  50. Ferrari have a big knob labelled TRQ on their steering wheel. So it’s not only McLaren that have the feature, it’s just better implemented.

  51. I don’t think the torque shift should be banned, or can be compared to traction control.

    ABS is banned, but drivers are still able to alter their brake balance (front/rear) and braking force?

    In the absence of ABS, this surely helps with braking to ensure that neither the front nor rears are locked unnecessarily by having the wrong balance.

    I’m sure you’ve all seen drivers fiddling with brake settings while even on qualification hot laps.

    Sounds like this torque shift is a similar idea only for limiting torque – And as was menioned by #20 Peter Boyle this device will still allow the rears to be lit up much in the same way brake balance changes will still allow the wheels to be locked under hard braking.

  52. William Wilgus
    22nd July 2008, 18:45

    I haven’t read the rules, but it seems to me if they say that “traction control” or “traction control devices” are banned, the Hamilton’s car was illegal for the last two races. Regardless of what the rulebook says, the device / capability is clearly in violation of the spirit of the T/C ban.

    Why did I say Hamilton and not McLaren? Because it appears that Heikki’s car didn’t have it.

  53. surperb article keith…
    yes… mclaren have certainly lifted thier game recenlty… looking at the last two races, i felt that the MP4/23 had excellent traction, never though it had a “manual” TC controll!
    well… dont u think it a little controversial!!
    is the controll in foot or on steering? coz steerings are verified by FIA prior they are declared “ok”

  54. Nuripam 36 and Jean 41, agreed, while whitmarsh was more in control of Mclaren he favoured Kovi, stating many times how fuel adjusted Kovi is faster than Hamilton…. now Ron Dennis is sticking his fingers in again, Hamiltons getting the favouritism again.

    As for the mass damper, dampers help in that the kerbs disrupt the rev limiters (increased power if you hit the kerbs cleanly) and the mass damper helps the chassis reach the ground before the limiter kicks in again. Its probably why the FIA were trying to stop drivers jumping the kerbs at Montreal.

  55. F1Fan, the engine oil itself hasn’t given Mclaren a tenth per lap in itself, its the fact the engine oil is more “liquid”, therefore easier to cool…. hence smaller sidepod inlet to the radiators (which have incredidly poor drag co efficient ratios)


    “…while whitmarsh was more in control of Mclaren he favoured Kovi, stating many times how fuel adjusted Kovi is faster than Hamilton…. now Ron Dennis is sticking his fingers in again, Hamiltons getting the favouritism again…”

    SUSH: I would love to read you develop this issue with more details and facts.

  57. More on the McLaren wheel here

  58. Becken, don’t you watch F1?

    don’t hit on my comments asking for FACTS if you’re opinion differs to mine, don’t you watch the F1 coverage after the race?, or after quali?, guess what… whitmarsh was shouting his mouth off.

    if you have a problem with that email him.

  59. actually scrub that, go get the telemetry from the cars for real proof.

    Like I do in my lunch break while waiting for my starbucks pint of milk to be frothed.

  60. I believe the traction system is merely a manual adjust for the differential (limited slip) that can actually be purchased on cars we can drive to work every day.

    Limited Slip Differentials do indeed help avoid wheelspin during take-off, but they are not automatic, so they aren’t traction control (which is an automatic braking mechanism) in the sense that has been banned (yet).

    There are more passenger cars with traction control (like my Hyundai) than there are with limited slip (like a Mitsubishi Lancer).

  61. “…go get the telemetry from the cars for real proof…”

    It seems that you have ACCESSED IT FIRST to spread your opinions about McLaren and Ron Dennis or Martin Whitmarsh´s character in any place. Man, this is very easy…

  62. I’ve deleted a number of comments from this thread. Please remember this is a place for discussing motor racing and not for personal arguments. See the comment policy for more information:

    F1 Fanatic Comment Policy

  63. @Chunter

    The differential, be it electronic, open, or limited slip only transfers power between the left and right side. Traction control as you know it in your Hyundai and partially in F1 limits the amount of power sent to the drive train. An electronic diff can aid in traction control by sending more of the available power to either the left or right wheel but it cannot stop you from a smokey burnout.

  64. Torque mapping is absolutely not traction control. With traction control, no matter what the driver does he will not be able to spin the wheels. With torque mapping the driver still needs to exercise caution.

  65. The big problem is that everything in the car is designed for better traction control.

  66. On the McLaren/Mobil Oil performance issue, don’t Ferrari and Shell advertise the fact that they can get better performance too?
    I have never understood these claims. Surely its how the engine uses the fuel that makes the performance, and aren’t there FIA specifications for the fuel the teams can use?

  67. I stand to be corrected but don’t Mc Laren make the ECU for all the F1 cars now ??. If you make it then you understand it better than most “”.

  68. Keith, I read somewhere, although can’t remember where, that Heikki used the assymetrical sidepods in the British Grandprix. Is it thus possible that his trip over the gravel during qualifying for the German Grandprix, resulted in damage to his own version and thus had to resort to the older one? Or could it be that he found the handling characteristics unsettling.

  69. @Richard

    That may not necessarily be true. The ECU being supplied to all the teams were given to them at least a year before they began to use it. Also its a much simpler version of what Mclaren used in the past, to the extent that Renault ridiculed it as being primitive. Finally, The FIA has full access to the internal workings of the ECU which enables them to police any cheating done by the teams through the ECU.

  70. The onboard from Australia shows that the split paddles have been in the car since the start of the season.

    (credit to archstanton from autosport forums)


    Very worth informations, mate. Thanks for that!

  72. @Internet:

    Yeah mate, nice one. That may sway the momentum of the debate…

  73. Fergus Gallas
    23rd July 2008, 16:39


    That’s the regular paddles. I’ve seen Massa explaning how it works back on the monaco grand prix. I’ll try to find the link of this and put it here.

  74. I agree with INTERNET.
    The central point of the question is that TC is an automatic device that function without any driver imput or control.

    If you change engine behaviour, and then accelerate that is not a TC. For sure the split paddles are legal.

  75. Fergus Gallas
    23rd July 2008, 17:37

    The link is from the video i said before.,,GIM823953-7824-CONHECA+OS+MISTERIOS+DE+UM+VOLANTE+DE+FORMULA,00.html

    Filmed in Massa’s house in Monaco days before Monaco2008 GP.
    He explains that the lower paddles are the clutch. Used on the start of the race and leaving the pit after the stops.
    It’s the 2007 model but apart from the green knob that he turns left and right, that’s the TC, it’s pretty much the same.

  76. @Fergus, the difference is that’s a Ferrari wheel, which can’t be compared to the McLaren wheel. If you compare the picture from Australia to the picture just after Lewis won in Germany

    They’re identical.

    And you can clearly see the clutch in both the Australia and Germany pictures. It’s that big paddle thing below the other paddles.

  77. Fergus Gallas
    23rd July 2008, 19:30

    @Internet, you’re right, they’re identical. The ones above are for the gears, bellow ones are the clutch, and there is no more space for this so called Traction shift paddle. Then something crossed my mind. And if this TS works together with the clutch?
    that would be smart.

  78. Hello,

    If someone can read in Portuguese, Livio Oricchio, the Brazilian insider, has made an interesting point about McLaren’s new steering wheel:


    1) McLaren sent the system to Charly Whiting´s verification and to be previously approbate before been used. To Oricchio, McLaren is very aware of the past shenanigans and move very carefully to avoid any problem.

    2) Considering that, the system is 100% legal

    3) The McLaren´s edge is down to new aero and mechanical implementations, as Keith has presented in the post above.

    4) Another teams are right now trying to implement the new (steering wheel) system.

    5) About the Lewis´s engine verification, Oricchio thinks that this just routine.

    PS.: Oricchio made reference to Paolo Bambara, who has wrote an article in SPORTAUTOMOTO (a Italian motor sport magazine), about McLaren technical innovations.

    Have someone this magazine?

  79. Peter Boyle (20) and (46) for sure understand about what he is saying.

    If there is something in Mclaren Cars against the (bloody) FIA rules is not because the paddles mimic TC, but because it changes the engine maps in less then 90 seconds.

    “Power without control is nothing” says Pirelli in that old Carl Lewis advertise. Almost everything in a racing car is designed for better aceleration (that means traction) in all directions(That includes wings).

    Formula 1 wants athletes wearing tenis. FIA wanted until now lady’s high shoes.

  80. Well, well… Oricchio was right:

    In Autosport today:

    “…The FIA has begun its annual routine random checks on all Formula One engines, with Mercedes-Benz the first manufacturer whose power unit will be examined…

    “…That process began after Hockenheim, with Lewis Hamilton’s engine being the first to be sealed by the FIA so its checks can be conducted…”

  81. All teams below all have Steering wheel with two extra paddles. HK, isn’t handling this development very well, Lewis love the new developments Ferrari, drivers don’t like the two wheel steering either so their many ask their employer Fia-t to get it ban. This is a non story because many teams have this already but their drivers can’t handle it unlike Mr Hamilton.

    Force Indian
    Red Bull

  82. lewisfan can u tell me where u got the news on the other teams using extra paddles

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