Team principal Andrea Stella says McLaren is seeing a “massive advantage” from being able to develop its 2024 car in its own wind tunnel from both a logistical and cost cap perspective.
McLaren had been using the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne, Germany, but built its own state of the art tunnel at its Woking, UK headquarters that came online this summer. Stella says the transition between the two facilities has been almost seamless and the significant benefits are already being felt.
“We started working and developing the 2024 car in the new wind tunnel,” Stella said. “This process has been very smooth, to be honest. We were ready to face some anomalies and scratch our heads, but in reality there has been really good continuity between the work we were doing at Toyota and the work we are doing at the MTC wind tunnel, obviously with a massive advantage from a logistical point of view and from a financial savings point of view.”
It is important McLaren gets as much time as possible in its new wind tunnel, having found that the step it made in performance this year actually opened up further developments that need exploring for the 2024 car.
“Thanks to the understanding and the knowledge we generated at the start of the season once we started to work on the upgrades, we realized we do need to evolve the chassis and other aspects of car layout in order to further exploit aerodynamics,” Stella explained. “The more you know, the more you know you can do further, while after year one most of the elements of layout were in continuity from year one to year two, potentially because we didn’t know enough about what is possible. Now we are more knowledgable, and therefore we are actually adding work — because we know more — to modify the layout of the car for next year and cash in more aerodynamic benefit.”
On top of next year’s car, Stella says there could be some upgrades that are brought later this season that will improve performance based on the work being done for 2024.
“There are some areas that you can develop on next year’s car and, if they are successful, think about should we release them for this year’s car,” he said. “I don’t want to say which areas, but definitely there’s a couple of areas where we have this approach towards the development. In this case we will have to look at if we can afford that, because if we go beyond from a budget point of view, it will depend on the cost and the project being mature enough.”