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McLaren expecting to run higher nose in Spain 09 May 2012

Oliver Turvey (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 test driver.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 24 March 2012 Oliver Turvey (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 test driver.
Formula One Testing, Mugello, Italy, Day Three, 3 May 2012

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes there is a ‘reasonable chance’ they will use a new raised nose on the MP4-27 at this weekend’s Spanish round. The British team evaluated the much higher nose set-up, which is part of a wide-ranging update to the car’s front aero package, during the final day of last week’s in-season test at Mugello.

Unlike many of their rivals, who opted for a stepped design to fulfil new nose height regulations brought into force for 2012, McLaren chose to comply by keeping the whole front end of their chassis lower. But this new revision to their original design means the height of the MP4-27’s nose is much more in line with that of 2012’s ‘stepped-nose’ cars.

“You may well see it again, yes,” Whitmarsh explained during a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes ‘Phone-In’ on Tuesday. “Actually, if you look at the detail, the height of the front of the nose is one of the more minor pieces of the new front wing assembly. So there’s a range of things.

“Classically, of course, you’re looking for lower drag, higher downforce. In the case of the front wing and the nose, the attachment pylons, as you may have noticed, are quite a lot different. The wing’s flap and endplates themselves, it’s all subtle differences. You’re managing the airflow that is enjoyed by the rest of the car and the rest of the aerodynamic-generating surfaces and features of the car.

“Nowadays it is quite a critical part of the car, you’re looking to find very small improvements. There’s a lot of restriction around the back end of the car. So you do more, often generating more performance, by managing the flow that arrives at them, than developing them themselves.”

Although only thought to have been used for a short spell on the final day at Mugello, the team were pleased with how the revised front-wing assembly performed and they expect to continue to evaluate the new parts on Friday.

Whitmarsh is confident that if the engineers and race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button (who didn’t test at Mugello) agree with its benefits, the higher nose may even be raced in Barcelona.

“There’s a reasonable chance you’ll see it on Sunday,” he said. “We gathered a lot of information. It’s unusual at this stage for us to have an in-season test so we felt we had to use that to log some data. We have given our race engineers a lot of information.”

The on-track action at the Circuit de Catalunya begins on Friday morning.

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