McLaren: German GP Sidepods

(This post will be updated over the GP weekend)

In contrast to the past few seasons, McLaren have had a quick car out of the box this year. Having this head start on pace has meant their in-season development has not been as acutely obvious as in previous years. Detail work around the nose and front wing have been one area of development, whereas the sidepods raced since Melbourne, have largely been the same set up used since the early testing spec sidepod was updated. One half of the update package was introduced at the British GP and now the second half with new sidepods has been brought to Germany.

McLaren style sidepods
McLaren may have been criticised for their nose and front bulkhead positioning on the MP4-27, but one area they have clearly got right is the sidepod\exhaust set up. Every other team have gone through many different iterations and even differing philosophies with their exhaust\sidepod set up. McLaren conversely found one of the simpler and effective solutions from the off. Their sidepods sweep down from the front to a bulged fairing with the exhaust tailpipe exiting sideways. The exhaust blows through the deep trough-like duct; this duct is aligned with the downwash flow over the sidepod and also has a curved bottom for the exhaust plume to attach to. These downwash and coanda effects lead the exhaust to blow downwards efficiently towards the diffusers edge. Unlike Red Bull’s solution, the exhaust flow finds its own way to the diffuser and isn’t lead all the way by a ramped section of bodywork. This may make the flow a little less predictable, but does allow the airflow around the sidepod to reach the diffuser. The sidepod’s undercut, channels air passing under the nose and around the splitter around the sidepods. This undercut flow largely passes under the exhaust fairing to allow the flows to crossover, rather than a complicated tunnel\duct set