One of the primary issues remaining for the McLaren team is enhancing the aerodynamic efficiency of their MCL60. The car, notorious for a heightened drag at particular circuits, has been a concern that needs addressing.
This issue was especially noticeable during the previous weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at the Monza track, a circuit renowned for rewarding straightline speed. Given McLaren‘s apparent setback in straightline speed at prior race venues, such as Spa-Francorchamps, it was imperative for the team to develop a new set of components to tout any chance of earning points.
Most of McLaren‘s competitors prioritised crafting a custom rear wing design, fitting for the distinct challenges of Monza. McLaren similarly introduced a track-specific design and seized the opportunity during free practice to gather comparative data on another potential low-downforce variant for later races.
It is worth mentioning that for the actual race, the team employed the design observed on Oscar Piastri‘s car during FP1. This design featured rear-wing components occupying a significantly smaller area within the permissible box region. However, one can’t help but notice the higher load on the beam wing configuration on Piastri’s car in comparison to that on Norris’ MCL60.
In Norris’s case, with a lower downforce beam wing configuration, the car was equipped with a higher downforce rear wing configuration sporting a spoon-shaped mainplane with a trimmed upper flap on the trailing edge. Interestingly, McLaren coupled this with the upper corner infill panel for the endplate, a technique initially used by Alpine in 2022 and later by Mercedes.
Apart from reworking wing levels, McLaren had a handful of other tactics prepared to boost the efficiency of the MCL60 for Monza and subsequent races. The team subtly altered the shape of the brake duct inlet at the front half of the car to refine the external flow around the suspension components and the remaining brake duct fence. Although this modification adjusts the turbulence caused by the front tyre’s wake, maintaining brake cooling performance while designing these units remains a crucial consideration.
In contrast, Ferrari revisited an older design for the Italian Grand Prix, opting to use the same rear wing design from 2022. This design boasted a very shallow mainplane and excluded the familiar spoon-shaped profile. Greater drag reduction was achieved by removing the Gurney flap from the upper flap’s trailing edge that was featured in 2022, while the trailing edge of the single-element beam wing remained consistent with the previous year.