McLaren-Mercedes Goes Asymmetrical

Ryan WoodAnalyst IJuly 22, 2008

McLaren-Mercedes have found an ingenious way to reduce drag. They have covered up the side pods which allow air to pass through the engine and cooling radiators, which has dramatically reduced drag.

Much of the drag on an F1 car is caused by these inlets, but they are critical in cooling the engine. So how has McLaren managed to cool the engine sufficiently whilst making the side pod inlets so much smaller than those of the other cars on the grid?

The new feature was showcased and tested at Silverstone to great effect. Other teams noticed this small difference but thought it would be a one off due to the lower temperatures and rain. However the same inlet system was used on both MP-23s at Hockenheim, where temperatures were much higher than at Silverstone.

The answer could be that Mobil 1 have designed a new oil which is much more viscous and efficient at cooling the engine. Could this simple solution mean McLaren can lessen their drag, and in turn squeeze an extra one to two 10ths out of the car?

Whatever the answer, it seems to have worked. For the first time this season the McLaren looks to be much faster than Ferrari's symmetrical car.