McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has stated that the team may copy their rivals front wings after a struggling weekend in Germany. Ferrari and Red Bull have had their new front wing designs approved by the FIA. You may recall the front wing so coveted that it launched favoritism accusations at Red Bull in Silverstone when driver Sebastian Vettel was given his teammate, Mark Webber;s, new wing after breaking his.
Some have called the new aero devices flexi-wings as they are supposed to lower or bend naturally under load and become closer to the ground giving and aerodynamic advantage. Ferrari’s resurgent pace this weekend certainly has Red Bull and McLaren on notice but it’s hard to suggest it’s all down to a new front wing.
So McLaren figure they may have a go at copying Ferrari and Red Bull’s front wing?
“The pictures I was shown, neither myself nor our engineers can explain,” said Whitmarsh.
“That may be because we are not clever enough, but it is unusual. We would like to understand it, because if you can do what they are doing legally then we would like to do it.
“If you can get your endplates down by the ground they can get more efficiency. And if they are doing that in a clever and legitimate way then we need to do it.”
I say good on them. The other teams have spent fortunes trying to replicate McLaren’s F-Duct configuration and made little stink of the device so why shouldn’t McLaren copy their rivals while maintaining a good posture and not whining about the device?
“We are not going to protest,” he said. “I think our modus operandi is to make our car as quick as we can, and concentrate on that.
“We’ve got good harmony in our team, possibly better harmony now than our neighbours on either side, and we are leading the championship. We have to accelerate the process of developing the car and I think we can do that.
“We are delighted to leave Hockenheim still leading both championships with our drivers first and second, and they are fighting.
“We can look silly and maybe there will be occasions where we lose a title or a race because we are pushing and racing.”
Seems logical to me because McLaren have certainly been struggling of late with their new upgrade introduced in Silverstone. This is not a team that takes this lightly and as my “team of 2009”, I have learned to never underestimate McLaren’s ability to develop a car in even the most restricted of environments. Will the wing claw back performance? Perhaps. Can it claw back the disparity between them and Red Bull or Ferrari? That’s the big question isn’t it?
I’m prepared to suggest that Ferrari’s hiring of former McLaren employee Pat Fry has made a huge impact on the Scuderia within a months time but not prepared to say his departure has created McLaren’s current dilemma in performance. The team are too good for that kind of impact but I am wondering what long-term impact a man like Fry may have on the organization. It is possible, I guess, for his departure to be the reason or one of the reasons McLaren are now struggling to find pace in the development race but I suspect they will adapt and overcome the challenge. Just as they did in 2009. In fact, I’m counting on it.