Formula 1

McLaren’s James Key: “Every change to these regulations presents an opportunity”

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Credit: McLaren F1 Team

James Key says one of the key elements of the 2021 MCL35M is the integration of the Mercedes-Benz power unit as the McLaren F1 Team continue to prepare for the new Formula 1 season.

McLaren made the decision back in 2019 to exit their partnership with Renault after three years together, with the team reuniting with Mercedes for the first time since 2014.  As a result of regulation changes, they were forced to use their development tokens on adapting their 2020 challenger for a different power unit configuration.

Key, the Technical Director at McLaren, says there is always an opportunity when redesigning an area of the car, and as such there is belief within the team that they can make another step forward in 2021 after finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship last season.

“Despite relatively stable technical regulations from 2020, there are several significant aerodynamic changes to the rules that are important to get right,” said Key.  “Every change to these regulations presents an opportunity, and the team in Woking has been working incredibly hard in difficult conditions to maximise those opportunities.

“One of the key elements of the MCL35M design is the integration of the Mercedes-AMG power unit, which has taken a considerable effort from the team in Woking, as well as our colleagues at Mercedes. Despite our limited scope for installation in a homologated car, the team has done a fantastic job of optimising our design work.”

McLaren has been forced to work hard during the off-season to prepare their MCL35M for the 2021 campaign, and Key says he is proud of all the effort that has been put in under extremely difficult circumstances.

“Building a Formula 1 car is never easy,” said Key.  “These are the fastest and most technically complex racing cars in the world and that challenge has only been compounded by the covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year, the team in the factory has been subject to incredibly strict, rigorous testing and working procedures aimed at keeping our people safe. I’m immensely proud of how our incredible group of people has risen to this challenge and developed the best possible package.”

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