Sunday, July 24, 2011

McLaren's rear-wing vortices

So did you spot them? The McLaren wing-tip vortices?

If you watch the train of cars streaming down the pit-straight at the end of both the first lap, and particularly at the end of the second lap, you'll see that the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton was generating visible rear-wing vortices. Neither the following Red Bulls, nor the Ferraris, nor the Mercedes, were doing so.

What's the reason for this? Is the McLaren rear-wing simply more powerful? Well, McLaren have been running a rear-wing this year with a larger flap than Red Bull, and although this gives Red Bull a DRS-advantage in qualifying, the flip-side is that McLaren have been equipped with a more powerful rear wing in the races. Ferrari, similarly, adopted the Red Bull solution at Silverstone. McLaren experimented with a small-flap design at Silverstone, without success, and seemed to be having similar difficulties at the Nurburgring during Friday practice.

If McLaren do still have a more powerful rear wing, it would provide a simple explanation for how they were able to switch the tyres on in the cold conditions of the Nurburgring, and provide Lewis Hamilton with a car in which he could do his stuff again. McLaren, however, might now struggle with overheating rear tyres in the mid-Summer heat of Hungary, much as they did at Valencia.

And wasn't that the fourth successive race in which Ron Dennis has been in attendance...?


Pero said...

Ron is nowadays a car salesman.
Has to be close to potential customers.

David said...

I first noticed the McLaren's propensity for vortex generation way back in winter testing.

Here's a nice photo from Jerez, with a angle you don't usually get in the usually head-on TV shots of high speed straights:

Gordon McCabe said...

Lovely photo!