McLaren MCL33

The now Renault-powered McLaren is visibly derived from the MCL32 but with much smaller/higher radiator intakes, giving an enhanced sidepod undercut and very, very tight packaging in plan view. Despite sharing the same engine it features a very different sidepod sculpture to Red Bull, much more traditional in its undercut profile at the front.

The wheelbase has been increased slightly, by moving the front axle forward but bringing the sidepod with it to maintain the same flow regime. Hence it has essentially the same front wing as on the MCL32 towards end of the ’17 season. With uncertainty over engine choice (Honda or Renault, two engines of quite different architecture) until very late in the day, there was simply less time available fundamentally to change the aerodynamics at the front. Hence there has been no attempt to copy the Ferrari separation of side impact structure with the sidepod, with only McLaren and Mercedes now in this boat. Despite the wheelbase extension it is now one of the shortest cars.

With high radiator inlets the front wishbones are at standard height, but the suspension continues to employ an extreme pushrod offset despite a new regulation limiting how far one side of the car can be lowered through steering angle. This suspension operates on the same principle as before, but the regs now stipulate a maximum of 5mm difference side to side at a 12deg steering angle.

Other features include twin longitudinal slots on the outer floor, running almost the full length. It’s believed they may be vortex generators to seal the floor better aerodynamically. There is innovation in the rear suspension, with a high and conjoined upper link for aerodynamic benefit, which creates a lot of space there for aerodynamic manipulation.

Clockwise: Huge complexity of rear wing endplate , tiny ‘monkey seat’ for 2018 regs and upward tilting exhaust to blow rear wing underside, conjoined and high rear wishbone and the smaller and higher radiator intakes