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New McLaren upgrades to debut in Monaco
- Updated: May 20, 2017
The McLaren-Honda team is all set to introduce the second part of its major update at the Monaco Grand Prix. This comes after an encouraging first step in Barcelona.
While new wings, floor and other bodywork elements helped Fernando Alonso achieve McLaren’s best result of the season at the qualifying stage of last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, there may be reason for more optimism ahead.
While a lot of encouragement can be taken from the fact that the new parts showed such good correlation with the team’s windtunnel and CFD data — previously a weakness—there is a hint of confidence that things will now get even better.
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said that based on this encouragement, the team has worked out a way for their next upgrade package.
“We have restructured and rebuilt the team and now it is working and operating very, very well,” Boullier told Autosport.
“You can see the results: and our correlation rate is unbelievable.
“In Spain, we brought a new front wing, new bodywork, new floor, and new rear wing and it is correlating 95%.
“And with this year’s new regulations meaning there are big gains every time you work in the windtunnel or CFD, we see big potential still.
“So what we had on the car in Spain was the first part of the package and the second part will be in Monaco.
“It has allowed us and Fernando to step up into this midfield pack, and this is a fact not fantasy.”
Although a clash with Felipe Massa on the first lap meant that Fernando Alonso could not register his first points of the season, he eventually ended the race in 12th position.
But, Boullier believes McLaren does now have a top-10 car on merit.
“It is not hope – we know that on the less power sensitive tracks that we can be in the points,” he said.
“But we are not racing to be seventh. I told Mansour [Ojjeh, McLaren shareholder] that on Saturday.
“He got excited about qualifying, and especially when you watch the telemetry live, you can see where Alonso was gaining and where he was losing, so for maybe three seconds you will go, ‘yes, another step done!’
“But the next thought is: ‘it is just seventh, you know’. So nothing to be really excited about.”