McLaren claim teams will copy Ferrari and Mercedes

McLaren took a step backwards in 2022, dropping behind Alpine to fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

The major regulation changes that were introduced at the start of last year presented teams with the daunting task of designing a successful car, essentially from scratch.

Some teams like Mercedes went bold with a no sidepod approach, while Ferrari’s design looked a lot more orthodox and was much the quicker car.

With Red Bull running away with both championships, as the RB-18 proved to be the fastest and most reliable car on the grid, it was no surprise that many teams adopted their design, with Aston Martin’s car even being labelled the ‘Green Bull’.

McLaren were also one of these teams to take inspiration from Red Bull and executive technical director James Key believes that after the first year of the new regulations being in place, less individuality will be seen in the designs of the cars this year.

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“We’ll have to see what we see, but my guess is that the cars will begin to look more similar,” Key said, as quoted by GPFans.

“We could see the Ferrari and Mercedes were opposite ends of the spectrum, but now have very similar performance. It shows that they’re all valued in a way.

“With the progress that Mercedes have made, it does leave that approach open as a possibility. Equally, a lot of teams headed towards a little bit what Ferrari did with a slightly more slab-sided approach on their sidepods, which is the opposite effect [to Mercedes design], but it has a different effect on the way the floor works.

“Is there a hybrid of all of them where you can get the effects of everything? Maybe teams will begin to head towards trying to get the best of all worlds.”

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Mercedes’ design failures last season look worse than they actually are however, as the Silver Arrows were not able to develop the performance of their car until the latter stages of the season, as the team first had to find a solution to their major porpoising problem.

Rather than taking inspiration from other teams, McLaren will be hoping to become one of the teams that leads the way once again in the near future.

The team are under a year away from having a brand-new state-of-the-art wind tunnel facility operational, which McLaren hope will give them the capability to challenge the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes for championships once again.