Mc Laren MP4/26A – Special shaped sidepods
To offer a cleaner and richer airflow towards the rear beam wing aiming extra downforce production , Mc Laren mechanics sculpted specially the MP4/26A sidepods giving them a distinctive L- shape . This configuration was also seen at past and particularly on the Ferrari F399 (1999) and F310 (1996) , the Benetton cars ( 1994-1997) and the Ligier / Prost team ( 1996-1997) . The channel created though on the MP4/26A case between the sidepod outer section and the cockpit sides is dramatically deeper and more obvious .
KERS introduction for sure increased car’s cooling needs so the question how Mc Laren managed to reduce the radiators size and inlets and at the same time to cope with car cooling needs can be quested a little above, at the airbox zone . There we can see a second inlet which provides the gearbox radiators and hydraulic system with sufficient cooling letting the sidepod inlets to provide with air only the engine radiators and the chassis electronics . This clever approach , not new for Formula 1 , made it possible for Mc Laren to construct such intensively sculpted sidepods with the engine radiators inside the cover’s skin to follow also the sidepods L shape .
Possibly top teams will try to copy the eye-caching MP4/26A sidepod design or even might try to evolve it . Depending on where to cut off the radiator the following variations of the Mc Laren’s L-shape exist .
1.Radiator , full piece .
2.Cutting off the outer bottom section
3.Cutting off the outer up section
1.Super sculpted sidepod BottomS
Cutting of the outer bottom section would in theory create super sculpted sidepod bottoms or even a twin floor configuration like Toro Rosso STR6 that would provide a far better airflow towards the rear .
2.Reversed L- shaped
This shape derives from cutting the outer up radiator section . The sidepod would be very slim going away from the car centre forming also an air channel with the aid of the panel .