McLaren-Mercedes is pinning its hopes of an improved performance in this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix and the races to come on what it describes as an 'ingenious' rear wing innovation on the MP4-24 – something it predicts will be worth in the region of three or four tenths of a second per lap and will prove to be 'a head-turner' around the streets of the glamorous Principality.
The multiple world champions have endured a torrid start to the 2009 Formula 1 campaign both on-track and off, with the recalcitrant MP4-24 ill-at-ease in particular in high-speed corners, leading to defending title-winner Lewis Hamilton struggling woefully en route
to a lowly ninth spot at the chequered flag in the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona last time out.
Hopes for this weekend in Monte Carlo – whose narrow, tortuous nature far better suits the car's inherent characteristics – were considerably higher...or at least they were until the British star lost control entering Mirabeau in the Q1 phase of qualifying and clouted the unforgiving Armco barriers, with a subsequent gearbox change resigning him to 20th and last place on the starting grid. Nonetheless, his team remains confident that with its new addition it may have stolen something of a march on its rivals when it comes to low-speed, high-downforce circuits.
“What we've done is open up a hole in the top of the wing which enables us to blow air underneath,” revealed McLaren Racing managing director Jonathan Neale. “That's going to be a head-turner for Sunday. It's definitely going to be a performance aide for the drivers. I think realistically we've got between point three and point four of a second improvement in lap time from Barcelona to Monaco.
“We believe it's legal – we've done our homework – and we know it's quick. We think it's ingenious, and I'm pretty sure it's going to get copied. We may have one or two race head start, but by the time we get to Hungary – which is another high-downforce circuit – I think there'll be others.”