F1: could McLaren really develop two separate cars?
By LJ Hutchins
Thursday, June 26th, 2008
Here’s a really intriguing story doing the rounds on a F1 website or two – could McLaren possibly develop two versions of its 2009 car and enter the one that would give it the biggest race advantage on any given circuit?
Our first reaction to reading this was ‘you’re having a laugh.’ Even if it is technically possible within the existing F1 regulations, the fact that McLaren is the team in question would get it outlawed before Hamilton and Kovalainen made it through the baggage checks at Melbourne Airport.
But it’s a hell of an idea – and if any team has the resources for this kind of caper, then it’s the boys and girls at Woking.
This is how it goes – as we understand it, anyway. Let’s, for the sake of argument, call the 2009 car the MP4-24. Now, for the last few races we’ve been hearing how a particular track favours McLaren or Ferrari, depending on whether it requires high-speed cornering, lots of downforce or so on.
If there was a MP4-24 Mk1 that fitted the conditions at, say, Monaco, then the Mk1 would be the entrant for that race. And if there was a Mk2 that was far better suited to Canada, then bring it on.
Cracking idea, isn’t it? And it is discussed at great and interesting length on the McLaren Fans site (see link below) where the centrepiece of the argument is the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and the weight versus power equation that teams must surmount to make use of it.
If weight is more important, field the KERS-free MP4-24 Mk1. But if you need the extra power, send out the Mk2. Tantalising quotes from Martin Whitmarsh suggesting the team has some wizardry up its corporate sleeve round off the package.
We love this crazy but perversely logical idea. However, we think McLaren would be laughed straight out of the paddock and into a Paris courtroom to be relieved of a few more million quid if they actually tried to implement it.
And, in all honesty, if it was Ferrari hinting at this then we can’t swear that we’d feel anything like as positive about it…