‘Too early’ to judge aero concepts, says Key

Date published: March 19 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Amid talk that the new aero regulations suit Red Bull’s high-rake design, McLaren’s James Key says it is too soon to tell if that is the case.

The regulations have not changed a huge amount ahead of the new season, with teams limited in terms of how much they can change their cars. However, there were some changes introduced in the aerodynamics department with the aim of reducing downforce.

Given Red Bull and AlphaTauri both looked good in pre-season testing and Mercedes struggled, many believe the high-rake design the former two teams use is better suited to the new rules.

But Key, McLaren’s technical director, says it is too soon to jump to any kind of conclusions regarding what does and does not work in that area, and thinks the two approaches will merge.

“It’s a little bit early to say. We’ve only just seen the others’ cars and where people are running them,” he said, quoted by Crash.net.

“I would imagine the two different philosophies will coalesce around something which ultimately works for these regulations. We have had a high-rake car but at the medium-to-lower end of that – certainly not extreme.”

James Key

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While McLaren, as Key mentioned, do not take quite as extreme an approach as Red Bull in that department, it is not hugely different – unlike Mercedes’.

Given his own team’s approach is so unlike the German team’s, Key says it is difficult to tell just how much the new rules in the aerodynamic department have affected their performances.

“Whether it has had a larger impact on cars with a lower rear ride height is difficult to tell,” he added.

“It depends on where you’re coming from. We made modifications to a car that was typically quite raked. So it was based around a certain way of how the aerodynamics worked at the back of the car.

“And everything that is upstream of that, had we been a team running a lower rake like Mercedes, the impact could have been different, so it’s a bit difficult to tell unless you are there.

“I think things will begin to coalesce as the season goes along and you will begin to see trends emerging.”

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