Compare McLaren’s new MCL33 for 2018 with last year’s car

2018 F1 season

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The big change under the skin of the new McLaren has already generated a huge amount of debate. One of the big talking points of the new season will be whether they can transform their fortunes after switching from Honda to Renault power.

The switch in power unit suppliers was decided long after the design process for the new car began. At the time racing director Eric Boullier said the change had set them back two weeks but the team ultimately feels they haven’t had to compromise on the core philosophy of the new car. Which, as these interactive images show, is very close to last year’s.

Use the slider below to transition between images of Ferrari’s new SF71H and last year’s SF70H. Note some images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

McLaren MCL33 and MCL32: Front

While it struggled with an underpowered and unreliable Honda last year, McLaren’s chassis was considered one of the most effective, particularly in quicker corners.

Outwardly the new MCL33 has much in common with the launch version of its predecessor. In particular the aerodynamic treatment around the critical bargeboard area is on the basic side, suggesting more development is to come here.

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The front suspension also remains very similar to last year, despite off-season changes to the regulations governing this area of the car.

McLaren MCL33 and MCL32: Side

The steeply-raked MCL33 is a clear continuation of the thinking behind last year’s car.

McLaren MCL33 and MCL32: Top

When McLaren revealed its first car featuring the Honda power unit in 2015 it boasted of the ‘size zero’ engine philosophy it had pursued to make the rear of the car as compact as possible. It departed from this approach over time and it’s noticeable how little difference there appears to be in the installation of the new Renault engine at the back of the 2018 McLaren.

It does not appear to be as compact as the packaging Red Bull has on its RB14 which features the same engine. But it would not be a surprise if McLaren has opted to launch the car with a more conservative design aimed at ensuring effective cooling and increasing their chances of achieving the reliable pre-season running they often missed out on with Honda.

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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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  • 17 comments on “Compare McLaren’s new MCL33 for 2018 with last year’s car”

    1. Those cars are… same???

      1. Yes……until a week before 1st race :)

      2. Other than the fact they have steering wheels, 4 road wheels, a cockpit and all the other features which show they are formula one cars which conform to the rules please can you let me know how exactly they are the same – my definition of the same would be that I couldn’t tell the two designs apart but simply moving the sliders shows a lot of differences in the shape of just about every element of the car. Judging by this definition of “the same” I’m assuming you think that F1 is a spec series where there are no differences between any of the cars apart from the colour, like in Formula E?

        1. I think the OP was being deliberately pedantic…

          Regarding the OP, there were few complaints about the McL chassis last season. Some even suggested that it was the best chassis out there, so there would be no need to completely redesign it. This is a product of relatively stable regulations… No need to reinvent the wheel, so to speak :)

        2. @wonderbadger

          Formula E is no longer a spec series. If you`d have done some research it had a road map in place to become more open all along

    2. No apparent ‘S’ duct on this years then…

    3. Is it me or all cars hqve gone towards q “reduce drag” philosophy (air intqkes, covers etc…)

      1. Looks like many cars follow Ferrari lead with raising the air intake on the sidepodes. But I notice that many increased or reshaped the intake above the drivers head (probably due to halo influence) but not McLaren.

        I find the underside of their sidepodes very slim, haven’t notice any other team going that extreme…

        The back of their body work is definitely larger than last year.

        1. Re: center air intake not changed.

          Which is odd considering how big they are in the new Toro Rosso.

          Different PUs must have different needs in air density. Perhaps the definite engine cover will only be shown after the first tests?

    4. Wow! That’s a lot of orange ‘Your Name Goes Here’ sponsorship space.

      Are you a Title Sponsor? Call Now! Zak is standing by.

    5. This just screams for a Bitcoin logo on there..

    6. What no Honda logos?

    7. I believe Mclaren is hiding a ton of stuff in the bargeboard area, and this car is nowhere near the same car that we’ll see in testing/Australia. It almost looks like Mclaren used this launch to showcase the livery more than the car.

    8. On first impressions with the sidepod strakes it looks like they’ve gone back to 2015, however those air intakes are seriously reduced. The Renault engine must be much more efficient than the Honda.

    9. Nicer orange.

    10. “Use the slider below to transition between images of Ferrari’s new SF71H and last year’s SF70H. ” Another Spygate coming up or just copypaste from the previous article :) @keithcollantine

      The colour scheme is very reminiscent of Renault in the mid-noughties. A good sign for Alonso?

    11. I am a long-time Mclaren fan. Sad to say that the 2018 car reminds me of the classic BIC ballpen.

    Comments are closed.