Red Bull and Ferrari outsmart clueless McLaren
McLaren has admitted that it has no better understanding of the Red Bull's low-riding front wing ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix than it did in Hungary.
Front wings have been a contentious issue at the last two rounds of the season where photos and video footage of the Red Bull and Ferrari showed the endplates running very low to the ground. By running the wing lower the car has more downforce and rival teams demanded a clearer ruling on the issue.
At this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix the wings will be subjected to more stringent tests during FIA scrutineering, but all of the teams appear to be confident that they will not have to make any changes. McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale said his team had been working closely with the FIA to make sure the MP4-25 passed the test but admitted it would have to wait and see what happened with its rivals.
"To be honest, I've read all the trade magazines, I've seen all the footage on the FOM website - we can't explain at McLaren why the [Red Bull and Ferrari] cars operate in the way that they do," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "We know that ours doesn't but I'm sure that we've spent a lot of time looking at the car and trying to figure out what is going on. But that is really just speculation on our part, that's a discussion for the FIA and those teams to have.
"I presume, because Charlie [Whiting the FIA's chief technical delegate] has issued some clarifications for the coming race, that he has some level of disquiet about what is happening or maybe what is about to happen, which is why he's taken the action that he's done. We're working with the FIA and our first job this weekend is to make sure that our car complies fully with all the regulations, so that's what we are doing."
He added: "There have been no big revelations since Hungary that I'm aware of."
McLaren's engineering director Paddy Lowe said the team will bring three front wings to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps but did not go into any detail about the specifications.
"We are actually bringing quite a range of front wings to Spa, we'll be testing them on Friday and seeing which ones work out best," Lowe told journalists at the McLaren Technology Centre on Monday. "It's an unusual circuit in terms of downforce levels, so the wings we use are backed off quite a bit compared to normal levels. That means that you get different characteristics than you would ordinarily get with those wings so some of those characteristics are not predictable.
"A front wing is one of those things that ultimately we will still have to use a track test to discriminate between one and another. We have ideas about which one will work best but we'll try two or three out on Friday."
However, despite the media attention surrounding the front of the car, Lowe said McLaren's main focus for the remainder of the season was still on the rear, around the blown diffuser.
"The big one will still be exhaust and use of exhaust. Red Bull has set the standard in that area. We're working very hard to recover the difference there." ESPNF1