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21 November 2014
Bite Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 Turning Vanes - Abu Dhabi


By McLaren's high standards the team have struggled over the last couple of seasons, this has also been a transitional year owing to their change to the Honda powerunit for 2015, whilst serious personnel changes have also been made.  One of the major coup's for McLaren was extracting Peter Prodromou from Red Bull, as he'll now head the aero department.  Small interim changes to the car since his arrival have had all the hallmarks of his handy work, but in Abu Dhabi we see that the '29' has been treated to several Red Bull-esque alterations.
Images from AMuS

Having already looked at the teams most obvious alteration/test parts this weekend the front wing lets look at the under chassis turning vanes too.  As we can see the new vanes are significantly different in shape.  Their design doesn't match that of the RB10 like the Front Wing but it is a departure from the fairly basic appendages they replace.  The most forward element is the largest, contra to the previous design, whilst the rearward element does bear some resemblance to the Z styling seen on the RBR vanes.  The change in turning vanes falls inline with the 'pelican' underbelly added to the nose at the last race, whilst of course making better use of the new flow regimes generated by the new front wing.  (Turning Vanes are used in order to condition and manipulate the airflow moving along the car's centreline, they are of particular importance when the car is in yaw, as they protect the centralised flow from the wake produced by the front wheels)
Above: The older spec turning vanes

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Bite Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 Front Wing - Abu Dhabi


By McLaren's high standards the team have struggled over the last couple of seasons, this has also been a transitional year owing to their change to the Honda powerunit for 2015, whilst serious personnel changes have also been made.  One of the major coup's for McLaren was extracting Peter Prodromou from Red Bull, as he'll now head the aero department.  Small interim changes to the car since his arrival have had all the hallmarks of his handy work, but in Abu Dhabi we see that the '29' has been treated to several Red Bull-esque alterations.
The image above is from @ScarbsF1
 
The new Front Wing is a blatant copy of the RB10's, of course there will be different shaping and AoA on the flaps, cascades, strakes etc but the core ideology of the wing is retained, piece for piece.
The most recent of changes seem to be missing but that's hardly surprising, given that they were done after Peter's departure and are part of the evolutionary process he wasn't privy to.  It could be argued that given a good result upon transference to the '29' any team could copy the wing from the images available, however they do not fully impart the knowledge of how it operates (understanding how the carbon is laid-up to create it's dynamic is something you cannot fully ascertain from pictures alone). 

The wing's predecessor clearly shows that their is an ethos to which Peter and his new team are trying to achieve, in terms how the wing is constructed.  We know that the flexi-wings of the past created a definite performance advantage and teams can't simply forget this, granted the deflection tests are now much more stringent but this won't prevent the teams from trying to circumnavigate them.

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10 November 2014
08 November 2014
Bite Size Tech: McLaren MP4-29 Front Wing & Titanium skid test - Interlagos


McLaren continue to make tiny steps at improving the MP4-29 toward the end of the season and as you can see when comparing the image taken above (by Giorgio Piola), with the one used previously, we can see that some small notches have been removed from both the trailing edge of the Endplate and the most rearward wing element.  You'll note that the notches are not new just enlarged and so it seems that the team are keen to make these ad-hoc changes in order to increase how the flow moves around the front tyre.  I'd be interested to know if they went to the expense of making a new endplate for this test as in reality a dremmel may well have dealt the same blow.  However we can see that the shaping of the rear wing element has been re-designed, with the outer portion now forming a sort of Gurney, further enhancing the way in which the airflow is outwardly turned.
Something we can see from the image below the team have made great efforts to achieve.
The changes are likely in response to the ones previously made by McLaren to the stiffness of their Front Wing in Sochi.  The team ran an extravagant set of pitot tube arrays (above) during FP1 not only to assess the enlargement of these notches but to understand how the car will behave next season, as they trialled titanium skids.
Over the years the teams have migrated from titanium to tungsten as a method of protecting the leading edge of the splitter (tea-tray), with the regulations up until the changes in 2015 had called only for a material of a specific weight to complete this task.  In 2015 the regulations specify Titanium as the use of Tungsten has been proliferated by the teams as it is less prone to wear, meaning they could run the splitter much closer to the ground without fear of excessively wearing the plank.  Running the splitter closer to the ground clearly has other implications (performance benefits) such as the Front Wing also being in closer proximity to the ground, whilst it allows for a more expansive diffuser (Rake).  Understanding and measuring these guiding principles early on will shape development for next season.
As we can see the upshot of using titanium skids (for the fans at least) is that we also get the spectacular effect of a bygone F1 era.

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07 November 2014

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