A Formula1 car’s chassis is designed with the engine in mind as a structural component of the overall car. When you think about changing engines, there is a lot of work in order to do so and you might recall McLaren’s adjustments they had to make when the switched from Honda to Renault or when Red Bull had to switch from Renault to Honda.
The good news is that McLaren is used to this sort of thing as they usher in a new era of coordination with their new engine partner Mercedes. The era of McLaren Mercedes was a dominant affair and McLaren boss Zak Brown is hoping that can return.
With 78 victories between 1995 and 2014, the McLaren Mercedes partnership has produced some very memorable moments in F1 success. Now the team has to figure out how to bolt the Mercedes engine on the back of a chassis that was originally designed for Renault. Team boss Andreas Seidl said:
“It’s obviously a big task switching to the Mercedes power unit for next year,” said Seidl. “But I have to say I’m very happy with the progress we’re seeing there. I would say the car build is going along very well. The relationship, together with the guys from Brixworth, from Mercedes, has started also on a very good basis. There’s a very good dialogue and technical exchange, so I’m very happy with that.”
The challenge is that the regulation changes were delayed so in order to make the needed chassis changes to accommodate the Mercedes engine, they will now have to use development token in order to make that happen. Tokens that might otherwise be used on of elements of the car.
“[The power unit switch] is obviously happening in parallel with aero development we have to do next year with the changes we have to do, especially to the rear of the car, to help Pirelli,” said Seidl.
“I would say we’re on target, no red lights there at the moment but thanks to a lot of power unit changes also recently at McLaren, we have quite some experience also within the team to do that. How good we manage to do that, we will only see next year once we go testing.”