McLaren MCL32 tweaked bargeboards and new diffuser

McLaren has brought the second part of their big update package in Monaco after having successfully tested and used the first part which helped Alonso to qualify in seventh place in Spain – we bring a review of the key details of the new aerodynamic package for the slowest track on the calendar.

The changes begin on the main bargeboard behind the front wheels, which have unique shape and are vertically and sinusoidally connected to side of the chassis -they now have three vertical slits instead of two.

The slots help to re-attach the airflow where the surface curvature is greater, as otherwise separation may occur due to the inability of the airflow to follow the more agressively curved shapes at high speeds.

Leading edges of the lower horizontal edge of the bargeboard which form vortices with their shape are also new, as they shape the vortices and send them underneath the car for better control and sealing the airflow beneath the floor from external turbulence.

Old bargeboards with two vertical slits

The next change refers to the diffuser shape, which has three vertical curved side panels on both sides, as well as the Barcelona diffuser in the figure at the bottom of the article, but the changes relate to the shape of its end, close to the rear tires.

McLaren MCL32 diffuser Monaco F1 2017
McLaren’s diffuser from Monaco

The diffusers use vertical fences (splitters) to achieve better control of the airflow coming out of the diffuser (with sacrifying some of the diffuser’s volume) and they are pointed out so the diffuser is virtually expanded after its physical ending (because the physical dimensions of the diffuser are limited by the rules).

Both diffusers have double horizontal edges at the top of the diffuser which are common in recent years, and which help extract air under the diffuser and increase downforce, but novelty on the diffuser for Monaco is that they continue around the edges of the diffuser and vertically connect to a small horizontal plane at the very end of the diffuser, next to the rear tyre.

We have not seen this solution yet and it will be interesting to see will some other teams use it as well. The place where the two planes drop vertically on a small horizontal plane is reinforced with metal part so that the entire structure has the required strength at high speeds.

The diffusers are much higher this year (175 mm instead of 125 mm) and begin 175 mm in front of the rear axle (before on the rear axle), which ultimately increases diffuser volume for about 2.2 times in the static state. That is why the least changes in this area have a great impact on aerodynamic performance, and the positive thing is that the team does not have to watch what impact it will have on the rest of the car because diffuser is situated at the very back of the car.

After Spain, McLaren praised the correlation of data from their simulations and real-world data of astonishing 95%.

McLaren MCL32 diffuser Spain F1 2017
McLaren’s diffuser from Barcelona
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