Interactive: Compare the new McLaren MCL36 with last year’s car

2022 F1 season

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McLaren has presented its new car built to the heavily revised technical regulations for the 2022 Formula 1 season.

To illustrate the scale of the changes between this year’s cars and last, we’ve lined up a few pictures of the new McLaren MCL36 and its race-winning predecessor, the MCL35M.

One significant change for 2022 makes these comparisons trickier than in past seasons. The 13-inch wheel sizes F1 clung to for decades have been replaced with more modern 18-inch rims. The tyre sizes have also increased, from 660mm to 720mm, so that useful reference is gone. Instead these images have been compared using the Halos, the dimensions of which are unchanged, for reference.

The new rules force teams to use much simpler aerodynamic surfaces, as can be seen from the front and rear wings which are much more intricate on the older car. The most dramatic difference can be seen from the side of the car, where the hugely complex bargeboards from last year have disappeared.

This remains a sensitive area of the car, however, as the entrance to the ‘tunnels’ which run under its length begin here. These will be hugely important for generating the downforce which has been lost elsewhere on the car, and McLaren have been careful not to reveal too much of them.

Not all changes on the car are a direct consequence of the new rules, however. At the front of the car, McLaren have switched from a push-rod to a pull-rod suspension; Aston Martin had the former on the AMR22 which they revealed yesterday and ran for the first time at Silverstone today.

Take a closer look at the differences between this year’s McLaren and last year’s using the sliders below.

Use the sliders below to transition between images of the 2022 and 2021 McLaren F1 cars.

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Note these images may have been altered for ease of comparison and should not be used as a reference for measurements.

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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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18 comments on “Interactive: Compare the new McLaren MCL36 with last year’s car”

  1. Keith, was it F1 or has each team come up with a standard for doing those presentation pictures so that cars can be compared each year from the exact same perspective? It’s a wonderful thing.

    The increase in tyre diametre is indeed huge. I wish the front tyres were a bit smaller.

  2. Yes!!!

    I’ve been hoping for this, the sliding comparisons on are one of my favourite things on the internet!!!. This is a gorgeous car, I love the big fat tyres, they look so ‘mean’.

    1. Agree these side by side comparisons are very cool, particularly this year given the regulation change.

      There was a time where there would be virtually no changes year on year, which was like playing spot the difference.

  3. Is the wheelbase shorter? Sure looks like it. They certainly trimmed down the width at the front suspension pick up points; hope the pull rod works better than Ferrari’s did a few years ago.

    1. It definitely is shorter, I believe the Mclaren was already a short car, should make it even more nimble I believe. I’m interested to see if everyone keeps off the kerbs also this year, I’m sure going over kerbs could ruin the downforce.

  4. This is great. I hope the pit crews have been working out, those wheels will make a difference. The new car looks really nice, much cleaner

  5. Really nicely done Race Fans team – that was fun to use.

  6. No wonder cars with even bigger wings, lower rear wing and a bigger underfloor, are not going to be any slower. Fia says one thing, the opposite gets approved. I hope these clone cars end up racing better but they won’t race any slower.

  7. … did I miss the ‘Coca Cola’ stickers somewhere? …

  8. Lewisham Milton
    12th February 2022, 0:02

    It’s a lighter blue for sure

  9. To me, the new cars look far more flowing and integrated as an overall design– last year’s cars look almost patchwork, and cobbled together from bits.

    Reminds me of the days of streamlined road cars, and art deco.

    Now, if they can race close to each other, the only thing left to hope for is that the three drivers (Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel) who remember what it was like with an F1 car that could race wheel to wheel, show the new kids what real wheel to wheel racing looks like. ;)

    1. Agreed in full. These new cars look so much better. The old ones really do feel cobbled together and disjointed whereas the new designs feel so much more organic and flowing. This is the F1 I’ve been waiting decades for.

      Great comparison to streamline and deco design. That was a great era in car design, and architecture.

  10. The 2022 cars are already making the last generation cars looks old, the new cars have look so much better than the FIA spec car. The big bulky engine covers are gone, the awkward front wings held to the nose by toothpicks are gone, they’re shorter, they look much more “F1” than the cars we had been accustomed to for the last 5 years. Finger’s crossed for a competitive era of f1

  11. It’s striking in these interactive comparisons just how much more forward the side pods are in this new generation. That must alter both the aerodynamics as well as the weight balance quite a bit.

    1. Is there still the mandated front/rear weight balance? I never did understand the need for it.

    2. Answered my own question. From the 2022 Technical Regulations:

      4.2 Mass distribution
      With the car resting on a horizontal plane the mass measured at the front and rear axles must
      not be less than the mass specified in Article 4.1 factored by 0.440 and 0.540 respectively at
      all times during the qualifying practice session. Rounding will be to nearest 0.5kg.

      So much for changing the balance…..

  12. No Brake Ducts

    1. “Brake ducts are only necessary if you plan on braking”.

      -Pastor Maldonado

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