Ever since its crushing defeat by Williams in the South African GP, McLaren has been pushing ahead with development of its new MP4/7A.
The new car, gestation of which was overseen by chief designer Neil Oatley and aerodynamicist Henri Durand, is based around a new carbon composite monocoque.
The MP4/7A is not only a departure from McLaren’s previous aerodynamic thinking, it also features a semi-automatic, transverse, six-speed gearbox with ‘fly-by-wire’ operation. In place of the traditional cable, throttle openings are measured by an electronic pedal sensor.
Power comes from Honda’s latest specification V12, the RA122E. In line with current F1 practice, information about its specification remains a closely-guarded secret. A decision on whether or not to race the car in the Brazilian GP on April 5 was due to be made shortly after the Mexican race, which took place while this issue of Motor Sport was being printed.