Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018

McLaren will test solution for top speed deficit in Baku

2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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McLaren is planning to test a new solution aimed at alleviating its straight line speed problem in Azerbaijan, Fernando Alonso has revealed.

The MCL33 was among the slowest cars on the straight at the last race in China and Baku’s long flat-put sections could put it at a disadvantage. Alonso said the team will try a fix for the problem during practice tomorrow.

“Here, as in Bahrain, it was quite a difficult grand prix for us in the past years,” he said. “Obviously we had some limitations on the power side but it seems this year we still have quite a slow car on the straights.

“Hopefully here we can improve that. We have a different philosophy, different tests to do on Friday to gain some extra speed and hopefully we can minimise that deficit.”

Baku has previously been one of McLaren’s weaker circuits, Alonso admitted.

“If we look at the times over the last two years here was quite significant, the difference with pole position last year was around four seconds slower. I think we need to do a better job and be closer to these times.

“We’ve never been in Q3 so far this year. I think it’s going to be difficult again this weekend but hopefully we are a little bit closer.”

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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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19 comments on “McLaren will test solution for top speed deficit in Baku”

  1. Have they changed engine supplier again?

    1. Duncan Snowden
      27th April 2018, 0:28

      Maybe if they stuck both the Renault and the Honda in it…

      1. Shouldn’t be an issue, with their size-zero philosophy. The best chassis on the grid can take any number of engines.

    2. They are using their allocated 3 engines at the same time, Joao :-)

  2. Take the rear wing off?!

  3. Nominate one car as pace maker and windcatcher, and withbquali mode and full batteries proceed the other car every second lap.

    Now I understand why they want to race 3 cars.

  4. It is funny McLaren has a top speed defecit for 5 years in a row. They had it even in 2014 with Mercedes engines.

    I question their design philosophy. You are not going fast anywhere if you loose a second on every straight.

    1. The best chassis philosophy has its flaws

      1. @johnmilk – The only flaw is that F1 has too many tracks with too many long straights. McLaren mistook the quote about F1 having Tilke ‘parking lot’ tracks and designed the ultimate Autocross chassis. The solution, for now, is have Charlie install 3 chicanes on every straight until Liberty makes up its mind about the type of racing it wants.

        1. It might just be easier to start joker laps – 1 joker lap every 10 laps should do the trick.

    2. To be fair, they had such a poor engine that the car never got near to being quick down the straights so it was probably quite easy to overlook the fact that the aero was also a little draggy. They also did not have another team with the same engine to compare themselves too.

      Now they have a reasonable engine they are finding the other gremlins in the design that were not highlighted before.

  5. I wonder what they’re going to do this weekend to address the issue. Do they have new aero parts? Are they only going to play around with setup? Run the engine in different modes?

    Definitely not going to be a easy weekend for them… but anything can happen.. like it did last year. I expect Alonso to be giving it a 101% regardless.

    1. Your comment is the only one serious one. Without irony I mean…

      1. Yeah, I like some joking, but come on, guys!

        1. Let the critics have their fun while they can.
          I have a strong feeling they will be silenced very soon.

    2. I imagine they will have a new rear wing or diffuser.

    3. they will try to slipstream, that will be embarrassing

  6. How about a new car midseason

  7. Too early to tell but if free practice times today are any indication, McLaren may have taken a huge step forward.
    I didn’t expect McLaren to be strong right out of the box – after all, they were late getting out of the gate since the decision to switch to Renault happened late last season.
    I think McLaren’s issues are not so dire they can’t be solved rather quickly. I expect Mclaren will have steadied the ship within the next 3 to 4 races.
    Alonso is right to say Red Bull should be the ultimate target. The next few races should be telling – if McLaren finishes ahead of Haas and especially Renault it will prove they are on the right track.

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