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Tougher floor tests prompt minor changes to McLaren 08 Sep 2010

Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010 The podium (L to R): Race winner Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren; Tim Goss (GBR), McLaren Chief Engineer, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren, second; Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes GP, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Chinese Grand Prix, Race, Shanghai, China, Sunday, 18 April 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 on the grid.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010 Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren MP4/25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday, 29 August 2010

McLaren have revealed they have carried out minor modifications to the MP4-25’s floor ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, in light of the more stringent tests to be applied by the FIA at the Monza event.

The sport’s governing body revised their scrutineering checks following July’s Hungarian race after some teams, namely Red Bull and Ferrari, were accused by rivals of running flexible front wings. After introducing tougher front-wing tests at the last round in Spa, the FIA will carry out a stricter floor test in Italy, with weight applied to the side of a car’s floor as well as its centre.

“The new offset load test is a little challenging,” explained Tim Goss, the MP4-25’s chief engineer during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 'Phone-In' session. “We’ve had to make some minor modifications just to make sure we’re well inside the deflection limits the FIA are going to set on that. We’ve modified our bib and taken the opportunity to roll it up into a minor performance upgrade as well.”

The load tests check to see if a car’s floor flexes beyond the permitted 5mm when a 200 kilogramme load is applied. As well as the new test on the side of the floor, it is now prohibited to run a section of plank less than 100cm in length. The plank is a hard wooden strip (also known as a skid block) fitted down the middle of a car’s underside.

Goss believes this new rule, and the stricter tests, will have prompted other teams to make modifications too.

“I think as far as the offset bib test is concerned, then I would expect most teams would have had to have made changes to comply with that,” he said. “As far as articulated planks are concerned, there are a number of teams who run floor skids in multiple pieces. The FIA have tightened up on that to ban articulated skid blocks, and I imagine other teams will have to make modifications for that.”

Even with the minor changes made to the MP4-25, Goss is optimistic the team will maintain the performance they enjoyed at the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend in Monza and at the season’s remaining tracks.

“I think most people would say we’re unlikely to see Red Bull Racing with the substantial advantage they had at the Hungarian Grand Prix,” he concluded. “I bet Monza will be very tight. We have a very efficient car aerodynamically so we think we have a good chance of occupying the front row and a good chance of challenging for a race win.

“Our pace at Spa was partly due to circuit characteristics, but also we did bring some substantial and significant performance upgrades to the car. We made some significant developments there and that hopefully is going to carry us on, not just at circuits like Spa and Monza but through the remaining tracks that we’ve got this season.”

McLaren lie second in the constructors’ championship on 329 points, just one behind leaders Red Bull.

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