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McLaren concerned about Ferrari, not Red Bull

As the F1 2010 title protagonist with the least planned in terms of immediate upgrades arriving in Valencia, McLaren-Mercedes is arguably on the back foot - and the Woking-based outfit's engineering director Paddy Lowe reveals that it is Ferrari the team fears most, not Red Bull Racing
Whilst conceding that it has no 'massive step in terms of car upgrades' planned for this weekend's European Grand Prix, McLaren-Mercedes has played down the significance of the F-duct being brought along by Red Bull Racing in Valencia – but did admit to 'concern' over the much-touted new exhaust-blown rear end being debuted by Ferrari.

Following the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal just under a fortnight ago, the duel for glory between McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari could scarcely be any more finely-poised – so much so, indeed, that it is nigh-on impossible to accurately predict a winner around Valencia's harbourside streets on Sunday.

Whilst RBR is likely to run its F-duct – a drag-reducing innovation pioneered by McLaren back at the beginning of the year – in the race, Ferrari is boasting of an improvement of as much as a staggering seven tenths of a second a lap from its exhaust-blown rear end, a Red Bull-style aerodynamic update that channels airflow around the diffuser and rear beam wing far more efficiently.

The pair's Woking-based rival, by contrast, will have to wait until it arrives on home turf at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix next month before introducing its own exhaust-blown rear end to the MP4-25, a car that proved to be the class of the field in Canada and is tipped to shine again in Spain. McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe confesses that the Scuderia's greater alacrity in getting the device onto its F10 has potentially thrown a short-term spanner into the works.

“For Valencia, we are not promising a massive step in terms of car upgrades,” the 48-year-old revealed in a special Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Phone-In session ahead of the race. “Most of our efforts will go into making the best of this circuit. A number of other teams are broadcasting reasonably large updates, and whilst we are not one of those, we will have a bigger package for Silverstone.

“We will see what [Red Bull] do [with the F-duct]. They brought it in Turkey, ran it on the Friday and then bailed out for the rest of the weekend, so this is their second attempt. It is a system not without challenges to get it to work, particularly in a way that is net-positive in performance improvement. It's not a huge concern for us – we expected teams to be playing catch-up in that area, just as we are emulating their exhaust aspect. When Red Bull get it to work, we are ready to face that.

“[Ferrari's exhaust-blown rear end] is a concern; we will have to see how they get on with it. It's a shame that some others have been slightly quicker to get it to race than we have, but we are where we are. Red Bull have made an interesting use of the exhaust exit flow, and all the rest of the teams are playing catch-up in that area. It has been a pretty major project and there are some technical challenges in designing it – not least the fact that blasting the bodywork with exhaust flow can generate some reasonably high temperatures.

“It's quite a significant performance step, and it's something we are aiming to bring to the British Grand Prix and try to make it work from the outset. We are able to evaluate in the simulator how these things work, and with no proper track testing, we will be doing trials and an aerodynamic test in the wind tunnel before Silverstone, and hope to have it working in the practice sessions ahead of race day on the Sunday. I think we are very well-prepared to exploit it, and we are reasonably confident we will get the performance we predict [from it]. The concern is more about making sure it's reliable and fit for racing.

“This weekend, we have to just see what we can do. Each circuit has different characteristics. We saw Ferrari really struggled in Turkey, and I can't predict as an overall package where they will end up [in Valencia], no more than I can predict where we will end up. That unpredictability and variation from circuit-to-circuit is great for the interest in the sport at the moment.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Qualifying, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-25
Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25 leads Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
Paddy Lowe (GBR) Engineering Director McLaren, German F1 Grand Prix, Nurburgring, 10-12th, July 2009
Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, The race stopped
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, The Safety car and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08
25.06.2017 - Race, Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
25.06.2017 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
25.06.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W08 and the Safety car
25.06.2017 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
25.06.2017 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
25.06.2017 - Race, 3rd place Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40

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Rosy and Jim - Unregistered

June 24, 2010 10:44 PM

Richard Why exactly would mercedes do that? If it's for a cheap laugh I think you need lessons in that area. Perhaps you just like jumping on a team that's down? Really nice trait you have there.....

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