What McLaren must sacrifice for its Mercedes F1 switch in 2021

published on July 2, 2020

after charging up the formula1 pecking

order last year and bringing an end to a

miserable run of form McLaren has set

its sights on rejoining the elite and

fighting for race wins and championships

again in the near future part of its

recovery includes a return to Mercedes

engines in 2021 which it hasn't used

since 2014 and McLaren has just scored

one podium finish in those five seasons

it's contested without Mercedes power

partly thanks to his woeful honda

partnership but also its own

shortcomings that were exposed by switch

to renault with a highly rated team

botton andreas idol new technical

director james key and exciting drivers

including luring Daniel Ricciardo from

Renault the move to Mercedes next year

is going to be more complicated than it

should have been and MacLaren's recovery

faces a bit of an interruption before we

go any further remember to give this

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but now let's dive into what McLaren has

to give up in order to facilitate its

Mercedes Reunion McLaren switched to

Mercedes engines was meant to coincide

with all new technical rules for 2021

but these have been delayed to 2022 to

save costs amid the corona virus

pandemic in the meantime f1 teams will

reuse their 2020 cars next year instead

development will not be completely

frozen with aerodynamic components free

to be changed and a token system put in

place to restrict upgrades on more

fundamental parts and unfortunately for

McLaren that impacts a change of engine

supplier because no two engines in f1

are alike modifications need to be made

to accommodate different designs McLaren

has agreed to only make essential

changes around the engines installation

a change of engine impacts the chassis

and gearbox and under the new token

system a team is going to have to spend

its development allowance to make those

changes in addition to ensure McLaren

doesn't make those changes to gain

performance it must organize regular CAD

design reviews with the FAA and satisfy

these proposed changes will be the

minimum necessary to facilitate the new

engine being installed other teams that

aren't switching engine supply will be

free to modify the same areas but in

super performance McLaren racing CEO Zac

Brown says having to use these tokens to

make these changes is quote a bit of a

bummer because the modifications aren't

necessarily for performance in other

words McLaren can only make changes to

the rear of its car to fit the Mercedes

engine and have to prove the changes

themselves don't make the chassis better

and then it's stuck with those changes

and can't do anything else this will all

be managed under the complicated

conditions of which components are

homologated and when several chassis and

gearbox parts will be homologated from

the first practice session of 2020 or

suspension will be frozen from fp1 at

around free after those freeze dates

these components can only be upgraded

once before the end of 2021 all teams

have to adhere to strict early deadlines

and communicate in their planned token

spend with the FIA if the first deadline

already passed four components they're

being homologated at round one and the

first deadline for components being

homologated at round three coming on the

Wednesday after that event it means that

teams including McLaren will already

have told the FAA some of the

homologated components they want to

change but some components aren't being

frozen until the start of 2021 which

gives McLaren room to make performance

gains in those areas if it is willing

and able to do so driveshaft and

outboard rear suspension will not be

homologated until the first fp1 next

year which means changes to those

components are free until then as this

doesn't require the use of any tokens

MacLaren's free to join rival teams in

making changes in those areas despite

spending other tokens on its new engine

installation a potentially compromised

interim move to Mercedes power is

another disruption to McClaren's

progress independently delay in the new

rules to 2022 should give McLaren more

time to get major infrastructure

developments like a new wind tunnel up

and running but the combination of f1

shutdown and government locked down

meant that that infrastructure project

was put on hold and team principal

andreas Seidel said earlier this year

that he didn't think the engine change

could be done quote in the most

efficient way so in the short term


hasn't been able to do everything it

wanted to and there's an additional 2021

season now with the current cars that

gets in the way of attacking new rules

and making the big step forward that it

wants but when the new rules do come

around McLaren should be able to make

sure the step is big it will have a

better engine better facilities but the

same strong combination of personnel to

make the most of it a budget cap being

implemented from 2021 also means

MacLaren's rivals will be pegged back so

while it's going to take longer for

McLaren to begin the next phase of its

recovery it should be an even more

exciting one

and as that Brown says it's not that I

want to skip over 2021 but I think 22 is

when I hope the conversation turns to

who is going to be our biggest

competitor next and it's not racing

point with all due respect but it's

Mercedes Ferrari and Red Bull

that's when I'd like to start annoying

them more often and here at the race

we'd like to see that too but do you

reckon MacLaren's got what it takes to

rejoin F ones leading group when do you

think that will be and how do you think

it'll get on in the meantime

let us know in the comments below and if

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