McLaren to test exhausts again in Germany

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McLaren will conduct back-to-back tests of its new exhaust-driven diffuser along with the regular configuration of the car as it bids to fix the problems with its latest upgrade.

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the outcome of the tests will determine whether the upgrade is raced next weekend:

The days since the British Grand Prix have been spent back at the McLaren Technology Centre industriously undertaking rig tests, dyno running and development in the wind tunnel to ensure that the future deployment of the blown diffuser gives us a more accurate and beneficial read.

Of course, that final validation will only come at the circuit. So we’re looking at undertaking a major test programme on Friday at Hockenheim. This will involve both drivers running back-to-back evaluations with the T2 and T3 floors.

And, if these prove positive, we’ll then look at the deployment of the new floor for the remainder of the race weekend. But that’s a decision we’ll only make after a thorough analysis of the inherent risks and benefits.
Martin Whitmarsh

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton expects the team to be competitive at the Hockenheimring but is wary of the progress being made by their rivals:

While there are quite a few low-speed corners that require good traction, I think we’ll be on more familiar ground at Hockenheim, and should be able to successfully balance our car to be relatively competitive around there.

The big question mark surrounds some of the other top teams – they’ve shown improved performance over the past two or three races, even if they’ve not fully managed to score the results that their pace suggests.

So it will be interesting to see just how close things have become up at the sharp-end, because this could affect the way the world championship plays out, particularly if more teams start challenging for victory in the second half of the season.
Lewis Hamilton

Meanwhile Jenson Button is focused on improving his qualifying performances having started behind his team mate for the last six races in a row:

After two disappointments in qualifying at Valencia and Silverstone, my aim for this weekend must be to make life easier for myself on Saturday afternoon, so that I can maximise my performance on Sunday without needing to play catch-up during the race.

This will be another busy weekend for all of us as we spend Friday working through the changes we’ve made to optimise the blown diffuser. Hopefully, we’ll have a positive test and will be able to see the benefits of the upgrades in the race for the first time. I’m looking forward to it.
Jenson Button

Button added that he missed the character of the original version of the Hocnheimring before it was changed in 2002:

I enjoy racing at Hockenheim: I miss the long, flat-out straights that made up the circuit at the start of my Formula 1 career, that was pretty unique. But the current track is better for the spectators and has shown itself to be a very good place for both racing and overtaking.
Jenson Button

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    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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    24 comments on “McLaren to test exhausts again in Germany”

    1. even I liked the old Hockenheim sad that we don’t have that track anymore on the calender.

      1. miguelF1O (@)
        16th July 2010, 20:24

        it woud be great to explode engines and to put someone other than redbull on pole that would be a trully hard f1 classical race

        1. The 1988 season had the classic “Prost-Senna” rivalry and McLaren scored an almost clean-sweep of pole positions. That didn’t ruin the racing.

    2. Just wondering how the tests will be carried out….. simultaneously? or Individually? That would mean that McLaren will have at least 4 cars at Hock then ….. hmmm, I am happy not to be an Engineer at McLaren next Weekend ;-)

      1. I think teams are only allowed to have two cars at a race weekend, although they may have enough spares to build a third car if something happened with one of the race cars.

        It will probably be something like one driver with the old exhausts and one with the new exhausts on Friday morning and if it is possibly to change them between FP1 and FP2 to swap them round so each driver has experience with both configurations before a decision has to be made on Friday night.

        1. Reminds me of Johny5 being able to build an exact replica of himself out of spare parts in order to trick his pursuers.

    3. Well Keith, i don’t think McLaren will introduce the new exhaust-driven diffuser, the performance of the ‘old’ MP4-25 is good enough for Hockenheimring.

      1. With everyone else working to improve their cars, I’d say that’s a sure way to fall behind. If you wanna win a championship, you gotta keep up with the Joneses.

      2. Agree with Joey, actually a very good reason for using the new exhaust-diffuser system: even if it just achieves the same level of race performance, it will give the chance to obtain more data and experience to develop the technology.

      3. Maybe they are playing with the thought of having one car (Lewis?) running it on Saturday and Sunday, if reliability allows that. And Jenson could drive the “T2” floor to help him find the best setup.

      4. The other teams have begun to optimise their F-ducts though, so its not longer such a big advantage for McLaren. Valencia wasn’t supposed to be a Red Bull track but they won there anyway. I think McLaren need to get the blown diffuser working soon if they are going to pull away in the championship.

        It will be a disaster if they haven’t got it working by Hungary (which is back-to-back with Hockenheim, so its possible that might happen if they don’t run it in Germany) as the F-duct won’t be an advantage there and the track is most like Monaco, where Red Bull, Ferrari and Kubica were all ahead.

    4. I love it it: T2, T3? Terminator anyone? I’ve always thought Whitmarsh was a bit robot-like, but now he is finally exposed for what he really is. “Jenson Button? Come with me if you want to live [to be WDC again]”.

      1. Maciek for McLaren PR chief: gets my vote

        1. Head to Red Bull, they’re in dire need of one.

    5. Its Hammer Time
      16th July 2010, 17:22

      ‘simultaneous testing’ Does this mean they will have to have 4 chassis at Hockenheim or does the rules allow drivers to sit in each others cars?

      For example .Di Resta can sit in both FI on a friday but can Sutil sit in Luizzi’s car etc What happens with transponders and car numbering etc??

      1. Even if they could swap drivers mid-session, I think with all the problems they had in winter testing trying to fit Jenson into the car, it would probably end-up quicker and easier to replace the floors, rear bodywork and exhausts between P1 and P2 on each car.

        (You definitely don’t need squashed in drivers or drivers that can’t reach the pedals adding noise to the engineering data).

        But from how late the mechanics were up Friday night, I am not sure it’s a quick enough change-over (although they might be faster now they know what’s what and are prepared for it).
        But if they can’t change it over mid-morning, then they will need to decide who runs old and new on Friday.

        (Notice, when Whitmarsh says ‘both drivers running back-to-back comparisons’, could, but doesn’t neccesarily mean both drivers each running the old and new floor)

        Hamilton was all for giving the floor a go in the British GP, Button couldn’t quite live with it.
        Do you give it to Hamilton to see where the limit is, or do you give it Button to see if it’s more race-able than it was?

        Either way, let’s hope they keep everyone involved onside and informed, and don’t contrive to manufacture a Red Bull front-wing style fiasco out of this.

      2. It might include Gary Pafett and the simulator back in the MTC as well, he and the test team apparently pulled an all nighter on the Friday evening of the British GP…

    6. How can you test exausts in a wind tunnel!
      Are they allowed to run the engine but not move the car?

      1. Most wind tunnels used by F1 teams have steel belt floors that roll along under the car at the corresponding speed. Clever innit

        1. Exhaust blow simulation

          found this quote refering to an old Mclaren windtuel, turns out they can simulate exhausts afterall!

    7. McLaren Mechanics should stock up on RedBull, if they are allowed to partake of that drink. Maybe Button can share his lifetime supply of Monster. They will be up late.

      If I were Whitmarsh, I would just run one T2 car and one T3 car on Friday. The first for the set up of the normal car and the second to test the T3, and then plan to introduce the floor later. I would let Hamilton run the T3, as he knows how to ride a tiger better than Button. From all appearances, the T2 car, well vetted for a weekend, is plenty quick to keep Ferrari and Mercedes behind. And this is not a super fast track where RBR will assuredly run away and hide again.

      There is no point in going through this whole fire drill again and hoping your drivers and mechanics can miraculously set up a car in FP3 again, if the system goes haywire again. (Can they really change the floors and exhaust systems in two cars between practice sessions? How long do 800C parts take to cool?) Given that a failure of the system may be catastrophic, they should just be more methodical about things and ensure caching good points until the new system is bullet-proof.

      1. If they would be able to do that change in between sessions, it would be a great marketing feat!

        I think your right, they might give Button the option of running with the known floor and find a good setup for Qualli and the race.
        And compare data with Lewis having a go at the new floor. If he’s satisfied they can have him race it.

        And if during the sessions they find a great setup making up loads of time, it’s still possible to get Jenson onto the new floor from FP or FP3 with Lewis setup.

    8. If I were Whitmarsh, I would go with the new floor, for both drivers for the whole weekend. The blown diffuser is the way forward, If they stand still or dither they will fall behind. Maximise the performance of it as quickley as they can. Ferrari have 2 races worth of experiance and data under their belt and the improvement is there for all to see. I am sure they will suss it very soon, if take this decision.

    9. its just not the problem of getting it running properly its what happens with all that heat its producing.

      have they done enough to protect the floor and other parts of the rear end from the heat this exhaust produces?

      check this video out, and you will see what im talking about.

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