McLaren’s chief race engineer Phil Prew has today spoken of the supposed non-issue surrounding the changes made to the team’s rear diffuser. Following the Bahrain Grand Prix, up to four teams were said to have been informed that they would have to make changes to their cars after the FIA clarified the regulations. It seems as though McLaren, Mercedes, Renault and Force India all exploited a loophole related to the size of the starter motor holes.
Previously, the FIA had not stated any maximum or minimum diameter for the starter motor hole, and the four mentioned teams have found a performance gain by making the hole at the rear of the car excessively large. This change from the regular design apparently helps airflow and downforce.
After inspecting the cars in Bahrain at the 2010 season opener, the FIA issued an update to the rules stating a maximum diameter and forcing some teams to change their cars. According to McLaren though, it shouldn’t affect performance too much.
The modifications to the diffuser, for us, were quite small, and we don’t anticipate it to have any real effect on performance.
It certainly won’t be better, but we’re not anticipating any real loss of performance with that.
We’re hoping in terms on one-lap performance in qualifying that we’re able to find a slightly better balance than we had in Bahrain, and we’re hopeful that we can have a better showing in qualifying which, as was clear to see, one of our weaknesses. Phil Prew.
McLaren and Mercedes found themselves a little off the pace in Bahrain while Ferrari and Red Bull Racing showed their true colours and dominated the grand prix. Having to make changes to their cars certainly wouldn’t have helped the silver cars, especially as the teams prepared for the flyaway race in Australia this weekend.