In Melbourne Mc Laren covered both the front and rear brake ducts with wire netting to prevent debris from entering inside the braking components . The Melbourne track is a street circuit surrounding the man-made Albert Park Lake and the track surface is full of small and dangerous materials ( stones , plant parts, rubbish etc ) that could cause malfunction to the braking system.
The net covered ducts have not been abandoned since Melbourne , proving their value and are being used to protect against toffee-like debris shed by Pirelli tyres this time .
Mc Laren tested a new front wing in last Winter test ( Barcelona ) to boost car’s performance and overcome the inability to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari . The new wing had totally new endplates (1) with a single huge slot in contrast to the old one which had four smaller slots . The philosophy of this concept is to increase the quantity of air passing under the wing by trapping air flowing outside the endplate surface . The triangular fin at the top of the endplate is also removed while the rear of the endplate is altered to cope better with the new design . Finally the endplates are placed now a bit outer on the endplate floor (2) to increase the wing’s effective span . As regards the flap separator (3) , it is now much shorter and traditional because there is no need to house the flap adjusting mechanism any more .
The multiple upward bending winglets on the brake surface help to reduce the turbulence created by the wheel rotation and increase aerodynamic stability . The brake duct itself is very narrow but quite long to provide enough cooling to the brake components but also to block less the air .
Brakes usually undergo many revisions through the season according to each circuit braking special needs .
Mc Laren added a rectangular winglet on both cockpit sides to smoothen the airflow passing over them and inside the U-channel created by the L-shaped sidepods and cockpit sides , reducing any unwanted turbulence . In the past we have seen similar winglets used by Mc Laren for the same cause but placed on nose sides , an area now unable to carry such winglets due to regulation restrictions .
To better understand the flow dynamics in real time conditions on this area mechanics even needed the use of flourescent paint .
Mc Laren MP4/26A not strangely tested till now a quite simple diffuser design because the team did not yet finalize its exhaust system pipes regarding if they are to blow forward or traditionally backwards . A simple diffuser would give simpler data to built upon any new developments , developments that would be bound to the way exhaust pipes blow the hot emissions .
The engine starter opening resembles a lot to the MP4/25 while there is only a pair of vertical fences located in the middle of the side sections . Under the rear light a larger tab was added at Jerez to create a shadow of air behind it increasing diffuser sanction effect . The endplates bottom are mounted onto diffuser roof via twisted outwards elements to divert air to the back of the rear wheels , a low pressure area , reducing drag .
Mc Laren among other tasks at Jerez was also to examine carefully the front tyres temperature variations . For that reason mechanics planted an infra red tyre sensor below the radiator inlet . Teams till now expressed concerns about Pirelli tyres excessive ware and it is obvious that managing tyre performance balancing ware and optimum grip would give an advantage over rivals.
Jerez , February testing
Mc Laren is the first team to copy and test at Jerez the Ferrari’s innovative crown front wheel rims (https://formula1techandart.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/ferraris-innovative-front-wheel-rims/) presented last year by F10 and retained for the 2011 contender F150th . This rim design helps to extract hot air from the brakes in such a way to disturb less the air flowing around the outer wheel surface improving air quality towards the rear . The main difference between Mc Laren’s approach and Ferrari’s one is the number of the concentric rims , a single for the MP4/26 but double for the F10 and F150th .