McLaren sidepod concept: reason behind the new design

Franz Tost Germany

New McLaren sidepod concept spotted at Circuit Paul Ricard for the French GP.

McLaren F1 becomes the latest team to abandon their original sidepod design. Just like Mercedes, McLaren has also come at Le Castlette with a bunch of new upgrades. Major upgrades include a new underfloor, sidepods, rear brake ducts

Aston Martin was the first team to ditch their sidepod concept, Williams F1 soon followed. Now, McLaren F1 has brought a new upgrade at Paul Ricard for the 2022 French GP.

The new upgrade seems to be inspired by leaders Ferrari and Red Bull and seems like an effort to close the gap in midfield. The biggest changes are in the floor and the sidepods.

So, why did McLaren adapt the new sidepod design and what will the new McLaren sidepod concept probably offer?

McLaren has separated the rear ducts from the Coke bottle flow. Furthermore, they have floor changes which include a new diffuser. McLaren has also brought a new design for the rearview mirrors with the aim to provide a more streamlined flow.

What McLaren is trying to do is get more air flow over-the sidepod into the “coke bottle” area of the car. Opposite to the previous design in which airflow went around the sidepod into the coke bottle area.

McLaren has also raised the outer corner similar to Ferrari and Alpine. What all this will do is increase the downforce in the front corner of the floor.

McLaren is under-pressure from Alpine for the fourth position in the Constructors Championship. So, the new McLaren sidepod concept needs to work as intended so that McLaren can keep up with Alpine.

The upgrades seemed to work just fine as McLaren showed a strong pace in the 2022 French GP. Both drivers finished in points with Norris securing P7 and Ricciardo coming home with P9. However, they were still behind Alpine but upgrades seemed to do the intended work.

McLaren is currently 5th in constructors championship 4 points behind Alpine.

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