McLaren Curious To See If Other Teams Will Copy Their New Diffuser

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said they will be keeping an eye on their rivals to see if they “try to recreate the solution.”

McLaren 2021 car rear diffuser at Bahrain -

McLaren attracted the attention of rival teams during pre-season testing in Bahrain due to the unique design of their 2021 car’s diffuser.

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The Woking-based team is seemingly trying to find lap time by exploiting a loophole in the technical regulations to help them offset some of the rear downforce lost as a result of the 2021 regulation changes.

“McLaren have found a little loophole in the dimensional technical regulations relating to the rear floor, and they’ve increased the size of these end fences around the gearbox casing, the underside of the gearbox casing, on their car,” F1 technical expert Sam Collins explained.

“This has given them slightly larger strakes (the little sticky downy bits in the diffuser) than the regulations really allow. Those were cut in size in 2021 as a result of the rule changes,” he added.

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McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has said they are eager to see if their rivals decide to copy this design.

“It will be interesting to see how this will develop in the next few weeks,” Seidl said.

“Whether teams are hoping for a leap if they try to recreate the solution. It’s great to see though and I’m happy for our aerodynamics team that they found this solution.”

Seidl added that they would be delighted if they can score a podium in the season-opener in Bahrain later this month, but he stressed that it’s difficult to get a sense of the pecking order from pre-season testing alone.

“It’s very difficult to read where anyone is. Of course we don’t talk about how far we were from the limit,” he said.

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“But I think we are well prepared and that we are in a very close battle again. We would be very, very satisfied with a podium in the first race.”

Commenting on their new driver line-up, Seidl said:“Daniel [Ricciardo] is a great benchmark for Lando [Norris]. He has shown he can win races with the right material and that helps Lando to take the next step.

“We can’t forget how young Lando is. From what I have seen, he is taking that step.”

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McLaren finished third in the 2020 Constructors’ Championship – and with them switching to Mercedes power this year and their car looking strong in pre-season testing, they may well be closer to Red Bull and the Silver Arrows in 2021.