McLaren expect quick Ferraris at Valencia

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McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe expects Ferrari to be competitive in this weekend’s European Grand Prix as their rivals bring several upgrades to their F10.

Speaking during the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In Lowe said McLaren weren’t bringing their version of Red Bull’s exhaust-driven diffuser until the British Grand Prix:

For the Valencia weekend we’re not promising a massive step in terms of car upgrades. Most of our efforts have just gone into making the best of this circuit. I know a number of other teams are broadcasting reasonably large updates. We’re not one of those for this particular event. But we will have a bigger package for Silverstone.

Red Bull have made interesting use of their exhaust exit flow, I think it’s reasonably common knowledge among the rest of the teams and we’re playing catch-up in that area. It’s quite a significant performance step. That’s something we’re aiming to bring to the British Grand Prix.

We’ll try to make it work from the outset but there are some technical challenges with it. Blasting your bodywork directly with exhaust flow can generate some high temperatures. So it’s not without challenges to hit the ground running with a system like that when we don’t have any proper track testing.

But we’ll be doing trials before Silverstone and hope to have it working at the practice sessions and race it on Sunday.
Paddy Lowe

Ferrari are introducing their version of the exhaust this weekend. It was put to Lowe that as their Valencia upgrades were expected to improve their performance by half a second per lap that would put them within range of McLaren and perhaps ahead of them.

He agreed with that view, saying:

I agree with your maths, there. That is a concern, we’ll have to see how they get on with it. It’s a shame some others have been slightly quicker getting it to race than us. But we are where we are.

It all depends, each circuit has a different characteristic, one suits some cars and doesn’t suit others. We saw Ferrari really struggle in Turkey so we can’t predict where they’re going to end up. Neither can they predict where we’ll end up.
Paddy Lowe

He said the complexity of designing the new exhausts had been the most difficult part of the develoment:

It has been a pretty major project. Not least because you’ve got to design a new exhaust system and that has many challenges, particularly when you want to do it quickly.

We are reasonably confident we’ll get the performance that we predict. We were able to test in the wind tunnel and evaluate in the simulator how these things work. I think we’re very well prepared to exploit it. The concern will be more about making sure it’s reliable for racing.
Paddy Lowe

He played down the departure of Pat Fry to Ferrari, saying:

Pat was here a long time and is a great friend to all of us. We will miss him a lot from that point of view.

It doesn’t fill me with a great deal of fear that, ‘oh dear, Pat’s taken a load of knowledge with him over there’. The team’s wide, it’s got great strength across all the different disciplines.
Paddy Lowe

Lowe also confirmed F1 cars will have adjustable rear wings next year: Adjustable rear wings confirmed for 2011 – but only for overtaking

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Keith Collantine
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11 comments on “McLaren expect quick Ferraris at Valencia”

  1. McLaren sounds pretty confident about the race, even if they expect that they will face a competitive Ferrari. I wonder if they expect Ferrari to have some difficulties with their exhausts.

    Did no one ask about Red Bull f-duct? Considering their pace in Canada, if they have the duct working well this time, they will be a major factor (but again, McLaren being confident, I guess).

    1. Ah, right, I guess this article is about Ferrari, and F-duct for Red Bull is definitely in the “lets see if they get it working in practice be for we worry” category for McLaren.

      1. I suppose the exhausts are even more of a question. They might give a speed advantage, but bring Ferrari uncertainty with tyre wear, or just fail to work reliably altogether.

        And the Red Bull F-duct will probably bring them only a 1-3 tenths, if it works properly. Newey was talking pretty carfully about it in Turkey. A little bit more even than Lowe on McLaren getting the exhausts right.

  2. Will Ferrari’s Valencia upgrade also include their new superduper diffuser?

  3. I find it strange they can evaluate an exhaust system with the simulator. Incredible stuff these days!

    1. They would have been running it on the testing rig for quite a while now. And a lot of wind tunnel use has gone into it as well.

  4. McLaren must not be too worried about it because valencia is a fairly low downforce track with few high-speed corners, so you wouldnt likely see the alleged .5 second per lap there. Seems odd for Ferrari to bring such an update to valencia, but it might give them a chance to iron out any wrinkles before silverstone, where it should really pay off.

    1. Yes, i suppose it is a question of getting it on track as soon as possible to start optimizing it.

  5. Why ferrari ae bringing this new exhaust system to valencia coz during the race weekend, the new parts can be tested. It may be low downforce track but still the amount of downforce required is greater than needed in montreal. Their straight line speed oos good too and this could be the deciding factor. But in the end, its all a speculation and we shall see the results soon

  6. come on ferrari

  7. ferrari have been quick all round but not enough to win races maybe monaco and montreal were real opportunities mclaren started the season with a bad car worst than the ferrari and the redbull but they won several races were they didnt had the chance to win i recall bbc pundits saying that mclaren should had prepared this season like ferrari this was said at bahrain but last week was the first race where mclaren showed they were faster than alonso and redbull the LUCK and the development of mclaren now put them as champ contenders although that redbull have still the fastest machine if nothing wrong happens they will win finnally a world champ but they may not win at valencia the mclaren and ferrari are better on low drag tracks this snaky track may be better for alonso which is my bet go chile and switzerland

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