McLaren's aero issue not showing up in windtunnel - Zak Brown

McLaren chief Zak Brown says the team’s development path in Formula 1 this year is being hamstrung by an aero problem that is not showing in the windtunnel.

McLaren, having exchanged Honda power for Renault, scored points in the opening five events to sit fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, displaying stronger race pace than one-lap form.

But it has regressed across the past three races and has failed to add to its points tally, slipping away from Renault in the standings, with neither Fernando Alonso nor Stoffel Vandoorne making Q2 in France.

McLaren believes its greatest struggles are in slow speed corners, while the ‘draggy’ nature of the MCL33 is also having an impact on straight-line speed.

McLaren is solely using Toyota’s world-renowned facility in Cologne but Brown says that the problems it believes it is having with its MCL33 are not being seen in the windtunnel.

Instead, it is having to “experiment” at Grands Prix, ostensibly leaving it on the back foot as it chases answers rather than work on development.

“I think we have identified the areas in which we have a problem or problems,” said Brown. 

“It’s in aerodynamics. It’s something that, and I’m not going to give more than I am ready to say now, it’s something that doesn’t show up in the windtunnel. 

“Therefore we can’t try and solve it in the windtunnel because we can’t replicate the issue or issues in the windtunnel, so we have to try and fix the issues at the race track. 

“And with no testing, or very limited testing, I think you could see that we were running different configuration wings this weekend, different floors, and unfortunately we having to test and experiment at the race track. 

“While most other teams are now on their development path and their base programme is working for them, we are having to identify and solve these issues. 

“We had some different aerodynamic devices last year that we don’t have this year, so we are having to sort these issues out at the race track.”

Brown added that McLaren is determined to understand the problem in order to avoid its replication on next year’s package. 

“We have identified the general area of issues,” he said.

“We know what we are chasing but what we don’t obviously have yet is the solution in place. 

“We are not yet focused on next year’s car. We do have some people in the team starting to work towards that and that’s why we are very actively chasing this issue to resolve it, so that it doesn’t carry over to next year.”