McLaren has hushed suggestions that its rear diffuser for 2021 is a gamechanger for the team, suggesting it will be ‘forgotten’ before the start of the season.
The MCL35M caught the eye of many personnel in the paddock for the unique design at the back of the car, which contains two strakes that are longer than what is permitted in the regulations.
The size of the strakes has been reduced for 2021 as part of rule changes to the floor, however McLaren has uncovered a loophole by extending a central area at the rear of the car that is not bound by the new floor regulations, which allows it to run longer fins.
McLaren’s Technical Director James Key says it was “nice” to produce an isolated concept, but believes that other teams will ignore the design before the upcoming Bahrain Grand Prix.
“It is always nice for a team to come up with an idea which is unique,” Key said.
“The credit fully goes to our aerodynamics department and the guys in the rear aerodynamic group for realizing that there was an opportunity there to use the new regulations in such a way. Full credit to them.
“In that respect, yes of course it is nice to find something which is a little bit unique to us. I suppose it is one of those visible things that gets talked about a lot.
“But ultimately it is just a bit of a much wider picture of a complex bit of the back of the car. I’m sure it will be forgotten by the time we get back here in two weeks.”
At pre-season testing last weekend, McLaren was third-last on the tallied laps leaderboard with 327, heading only Aston Martin and Mercedes.
Despite the low mileage, Key says McLaren “ticked a lot of boxes” during the three days of running through the programme it set out.
“There are no negative reasons for the low lap count we have,” Key said.
“It is more to do that we swapped drivers every day, which always has a little bit of a timing implication.
“But we also try to split our time between data gathering, which can be time-consuming, and just sticking miles on the car.
“Of course you would like to put a lot of miles on the car immediately. But if you do that, you do not necessarily get all those little tests done which we started Sunday with. So it has been planned.”