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What happens to McLaren?


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#51 Digitaldrug

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 06:27

Originally posted by WOOT


It has been discussed. McLaren have different head designers each year and they probably have different design philosophies.


Is that actually confirmed fact or just rumour?

The Mclaren is clearly a fundamentally good car and the main problem that the drivers are complaining about is finding a good setup. Thats what they blamed the last two races on, bad setup, so that means its their fault. Its also Mclarens fault for ending up with two inexperienced drivers in their team. The field is very competative these days so those few extra tenths from perfect setups are like gold. Hamiltons solution to the problem seems to be to drive the car harder and over drive.. Not very effective.

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#52 airwise

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:02

Doesn't anyone on this board really look closely at the stats anymore?

In Spain, Mclaren are closer to the Ferraris than they were in Malaysia and as close as in Bahrain in Q3. The same applies to their relative pace to BMW. The only fly in the ointment is an underweight Renault. On race pace, Hamilton seems to have an edge on everyone bar the Ferraris, as was the case towards the end of last season.

#53 HP

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:23

Originally posted by airwise
Doesn't anyone on this board really look closely at the stats anymore?

In Spain, Mclaren are closer to the Ferraris than they were in Malaysia and as close as in Bahrain in Q3. The same applies to their relative pace to BMW. The only fly in the ointment is an underweight Renault. On race pace, Hamilton seems to have an edge on everyone bar the Ferraris, as was the case towards the end of last season.

Actually Barcelona is closer, because most teams test extensively there. So let's wait. Also we don't know about fuel loads at all, except for clear hints that Alonso runs with a light fuel strategy.

What surprises me is that no one makes mention of Pedro de la Rosa. He is Mclaren's main tester. He's experienced and should know about setup in Barcelona. He too tested with the configuration they run this weekend a week ago. I think those posts mentioning that neither LH nor HK are able to setup or develop the the car proper are wide off the mark.

If it's setup problems, then the first thing McLaren should do is to hire another test driver and engineers. Even for Mclaren it's not easy to change a car that is too hard on the tires and has according to N.Haug a smaller setup window, to one that is easy on the tires and easy to setup and maintain competitiveness throughout the changes.

#54 Galko877

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:28

So here we go again, the world revolves around King Alonso, the great developer. :rolleyes:

I think it has more to do with Tim Goss designing this year's McLaren than with Alonso. His cars were always worse than those of Pat Frye's. I just don't understand why McLaren doesn't let Frye design their cars every year. They should learn the lesson already.

Having said that, the car is still better than 2006's or 2004's McLaren so it could be Goss' best effort up to date. But he is still behind Frye. Of course the 100 m $ fine didn't help McLaren either.

#55 StefanV

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:32

"seems they have loosen it completely this season.... (fanboy mode on...) I guess because they're missing someone's 6 tenths!! (fanboy mode off)"

That generates a two page thread in a couple of hours. :eek:

#56 Galko877

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:35

Originally posted by Digitaldrug


Is that actually confirmed fact or just rumour?


It's there in the transcripts of the WMSC hearings from last year:

DENNIS: This year’s car was designed by Pat Frye and next year’s car is being designed by Tim Goss. At the moment, the latter has access to a percentage of the engineering resource, focusing on aerodynamics and gearbox design, to accommodate the new gearbox rule. The aeropackage is purely due to the need to design the monocoque shape early enough to determine the wet surfaces. These are the parties responsible for the design of those cars. If we are fortunate enough to win the World Championship this year, the design credit will go to Pat Frye. They alternate, year on year.



#57 MichaelPM

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:37

Originally posted by WOOT


The only reason Renault have gained so much ground is that they are now using the so called j-dampers that all the other teams have been using for a long time. It's a MAJOR Mechanical update. Alonso's setup has nothing to do with it. The j-dampers have been in development even before Alonso joined Renault.

Yep, drill a few bolt hole, stick the j-dampers on and instant speed gain without any change in dynamics and need to alter any setup. Happy days for this simple sport. :rolleyes:

#58 britishtrident

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:39

Pedro de la Rosa should have went a long time ago, but the real problem is that all this years cars have too many aerodynamic addons to be consistent, the sweet spot for aerodynamic setup is too narrow.

However we are seeing the start of what promises to be a very good season, with three teams or perhaps four teams in the hunt. Not however Renualt, Alonso on the front row is a one off prank -- on the circuit Alonso is one classy driver but not a miracle worker, the car was running on fumes. Remember Johnny Herbert's one off qualifying performance in the dying days of Team Lotus ?

#59 K-One

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:42

Mclaren mysteriously lost 0,6 seconds already in the beginning of the year, but for some reason, it's only starting to show in 4th race

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#60 Digitaldrug

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:43

Originally posted by HP

What surprises me is that no one makes mention of Pedro de la Rosa. He is Mclaren's main tester. He's experienced and should know about setup in Barcelona. He too tested with the configuration they run this weekend a week ago. I think those posts mentioning that neither LH nor HK are able to setup or develop the the car proper are wide off the mark.

If it's setup problems, then the first thing McLaren should do is to hire another test driver and engineers. Even for Mclaren it's not easy to change a car that is too hard on the tires and has according to N.Haug a smaller setup window, to one that is easy on the tires and easy to setup and maintain competitiveness throughout the changes.


Maybe the car is fine for pedros driving style? He can only do so much to help Hamilton and Heikki, the rest is upto them. You make it sound like they are a bunch of babies that need to be hand fed. Well maybe they are.

#61 manodemono

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:44

Originally posted by airwise
Doesn't anyone on this board really look closely at the stats anymore?

In Spain, Mclaren are closer to the Ferraris than they were in Malaysia and as close as in Bahrain in Q3. The same applies to their relative pace to BMW. The only fly in the ointment is an underweight Renault. On race pace, Hamilton seems to have an edge on everyone bar the Ferraris, as was the case towards the end of last season.


How so ?

Hamilton's race pace ? The Barcelona race hasn't started yet

#62 britishtrident

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:56

Originally posted by WOOT


I wonder if Renault's jump in performance is due to the McLaren documents they stole.



No just running the car with 3 gallons of gas in the tank.

#63 mursuka80

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:10

Originally posted by britishtrident



No just running the car with 3 gallons of gas in the tank.


About your sig,Do you compare ferrari to Cosa Nostra? :lol:Be careful or there might be horses head in your bed tonight :wave:

#64 Gecko

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:37

Not only are McLaren 100M$ short, they also had to drop certain developments to the car that could be considered similar to Ferrari's quite late in the car's development cycle (most notably their braking system). Essentially they are starting with one arm tied behind their backs. It may be a fair punishment, but since this thread is mainly about finding the reasons for their relative slump, I think this explains the difference much better than any ethereal notions about good/bad car developers.

#65 as65p

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:35

Originally posted by Lontano


so you asume all drivers have EXACTLY the same skills in finding setups? They are also the best drivers in the world, that doesn't mean that they are all exactly as good as each other.


Pretty common (and somewhat sheepish) debating tactic, if you ask me. If you can't really dispute a particular, well documented strength of a driver, try your hardest to diminish the overall value of that strength.

Given what virtually everyone says about Alonso's contributions to car development over a season, and in turn, the deafening silence about those qualities regarding other drivers, to downplay driver contribution in general is the only way not having to admit that Alonso might be better at something substantial than your own favourite.

;)

#66 glorius&victorius

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 10:50

Originally posted by Galko877
So here we go again, the world revolves around King Alonso, the great developer. :rolleyes:

I think it has more to do with Tim Goss designing this year's McLaren than with Alonso. His cars were always worse than those of Pat Frye's. I just don't understand why McLaren doesn't let Frye design their cars every year. They should learn the lesson already.

Having said that, the car is still better than 2006's or 2004's McLaren so it could be Goss' best effort up to date. But he is still behind Frye. Of course the 100 m $ fine didn't help McLaren either.


would the design team have been weakened by the loss of the very resourceful Coughlan? Last year after Coughlan was suspended Mclaren seemed to carry on at a good development pace.... but maybe developing a car and putting down a quick-out-of-the-box baseline are two different thing...

I am only guessing..

I guess many factors here for not progressing as fast:
- drivers inexperienced
- less input from experienced test drivers
- hit by 100 million for sure that must have had some effect (what major developments did McLaren bring at Barcelona?)
- running against an ever well structured, solid Ferrari.
- BMW getting their act together

#67 Will

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:02

If there alternate year theory is correct, Pat Fry has a great chance to hit the ground running for 2009 new regs ;)

#68 as65p

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:22

Originally posted by Will
If there alternate year theory is correct...


I think it's a nice curiosity, nothing more (unless you happen to also believe in the relevance of star signs).

#69 WOOT

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:39

Originally posted by as65p


I think it's a nice curiosity, nothing more (unless you happen to also believe in the relevance of star signs).


Well it's been a pattern that Goss cars have been underperforming. Even at the hands of Kimi.

#70 Only Massa

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 16:03

It's time to bring this thread up again.

Ron Dennis said that in Spain we would have seen the real McLaren.

Clearly today Ferrari was by far superior in every phase of the race and only 2 safety cars avoided a 20-30 second gap to the mp4 23. And both Ferraris were clearly cruising.

Considering that in Spain teams test a lot and gaps between them tend to reduce, I clearly see the real McLaren: an underperforming car which could be easily matched in qualifying (and soon in race-pace) by BMW.

I also see them being questionable as a team, since they adopt dull strategies: mp4-23 keeps running ok with hard tyres and yet the team employs them only in the last stint. I cannot understand why.

And I cannot understand why they are not being creative with their fuel-loads. If Kovalainen adopted Alonso's strategy today (ie qualify light and try to do something in front of the red cars, at least "sandwich" them :)), the outcome would have been different.

That's what Mclaren is missing: if they cannot outpace their competitors, they are totally unable to outsmart them.

#71 Architrion

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 13:34

Originally posted by Only Massa
It's time to bring this thread up again.

Ron Dennis said that in Spain we would have seen the real McLaren.

Clearly today Ferrari was by far superior in every phase of the race and only 2 safety cars avoided a 20-30 second gap to the mp4 23. And both Ferraris were clearly cruising.

Considering that in Spain teams test a lot and gaps between them tend to reduce, I clearly see the real McLaren: an underperforming car which could be easily matched in qualifying (and soon in race-pace) by BMW.

I also see them being questionable as a team, since they adopt dull strategies: mp4-23 keeps running ok with hard tyres and yet the team employs them only in the last stint. I cannot understand why.

And I cannot understand why they are not being creative with their fuel-loads. If Kovalainen adopted Alonso's strategy today (ie qualify light and try to do something in front of the red cars, at least "sandwich" them :)), the outcome would have been different.

That's what Mclaren is missing: if they cannot outpace their competitors, they are totally unable to outsmart them.


I totally agree with you. Luckiest man in the field after Hekki's crash was Lewis, recovering 20 secs. Ferrari even could easily cruise after loosing its advantage.... And Kubica was there, 1,5-2 secs behind a full-speeded Hami at his final stint. I really didn't feel blinded by McLaren's performance yesterday.

#72 Fatgadget

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 14:12

Originally posted by Will
If there alternate year theory is correct, Pat Fry has a great chance to hit the ground running for 2009 new regs ;)


Forgive me for going OT. Is Pat Fry related to Nick Fry?

#73 as65p

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 14:21

Originally posted by WOOT


Well it's been a pattern that Goss cars have been underperforming. Even at the hands of Kimi.


It's not as if the engineering teams for different years are competing against eachother in the traditional sense, hiding their secrets and developments (at least I hope they're not that would be just stupid).

So I suspect they never lose track of what the others are doing and in the end it's still the whole teams effort, every year, in success or failure.

The "alternate year" theory sounds just like a over-simplification to me, or another pseudo-fact based on first-glance statistics.

#74 Mika Mika

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 14:31

Originally posted by Only Massa
It's time to bring this thread up again.

Ron Dennis said that in Spain we would have seen the real McLaren.

Clearly today Ferrari was by far superior in every phase of the race and only 2 safety cars avoided a 20-30 second gap to the mp4 23. And both Ferraris were clearly cruising.

Considering that in Spain teams test a lot and gaps between them tend to reduce, I clearly see the real McLaren: an underperforming car which could be easily matched in qualifying (and soon in race-pace) by BMW.

I also see them being questionable as a team, since they adopt dull strategies: mp4-23 keeps running ok with hard tyres and yet the team employs them only in the last stint. I cannot understand why.

And I cannot understand why they are not being creative with their fuel-loads. If Kovalainen adopted Alonso's strategy today (ie qualify light and try to do something in front of the red cars, at least "sandwich" them :)), the outcome would have been different.

That's what Mclaren is missing: if they cannot outpace their competitors, they are totally unable to outsmart them.


Looking at the charts McLaren made up around 8s because of the safety car. Also I dont think Ferrari were crusine whereas Ham was thrashing it just to stay infront of the bimmer, It looked pretty close in reality...

#75 taran

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 14:35

There seems to be some misunderstanding about setups IMO. Engineers can determine an ‘optimum’ setup for any car at any circuit (defined as the theoretical fastest lap time) but that would be impossible for the driver to use, certainly over a race distance. What the driver does is set up a car for the fastest possible speed he can drive (comfortably), either over a single lap or a full race distance. This differs from the engineer’s setup considerably and in simple terms may be seen as making the optimum setup slower until the driver can cope with it.

Schumacher in a Minardi (or Alonso in that Minardi) would not have made the Minardi faster but such a driver is able to approach the maximum speed inherent in the car. A 'normal' F1 driver is said to be able to extract up to 80% of a design's inherent speed, an ace can extract 90% (as said by Pat Symonds).

In McLaren’s case, Pedro’s setup work would not necessarily benefit the race drivers, simply because what he feels to be fine may not work for another driver. And conditions during a test usually differ considerably with a race weekend so Pedro’s setup would probably only act as a base configuration.

As to Hamilton and Kovalainen’s experience in setups, their previous race career will have given them an appreciation of the feel of a car with setup changes and how to dial in a car but all feeder categories have only a very limited setup window compared the literally limitless possibilities in a F1 car. The 2008 dumbing down of the cars regarding electronics may have reduced some of the setup parameters but only vast experience and a ‘talent’ for such things will allow a driver to fully exploit the speed that can be found in the car. And at this level, we are talking about finite of speed differentials.

#76 Hacklerf

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 14:40

Put simply, Ferrari, BMW and Renault have had better development since the begining of the year, thats whats happened to Mclaren

#77 Andrew Ford &F1

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 16:23

Originally posted by Hacklerf
Put simply, Ferrari, BMW and Renault have had better development since the begining of the year, thats whats happened to Mclaren


:eek: I wonder what does the Renault team do among the teams that did actually produce a better car than McLaren?

Heikki Kovalainen (the lower placed McLaren-Mercedes driver) - 14 points; Fernando Alonso (the better placed Renault driver) - 6 points. Now I see your point :)