The decision to postpone the new 2021 technical regulations for one year will not affect the plan for McLaren from change engine suppliers the next season. McLaren announced last year that they would change the power units of Renault by Mercedes at the end of this season. However, the interruption of the start of the 2020 season of Formula 1 has led the great circus to delay the introduction of new technical rules for next year and raised questions about whether McLaren could continue the change. “We will use the Mercedes engine in 2021 as planned and integrate it into the current base chassis”.
The teams supported the decision, which also means they will use their 2020 chassis again next year so they won’t be expected. great evolutions in the performance of the cars from one year to another. The teams will take advantage of this year to save costs before the great change of 2022 that will suppose a great amount of expense of the total budget of the teams. But McLaren, on the other hand, has also received the go-ahead from the rest of the teams for the changes to their car with the arrival of Mercedes.
Jonathan LlataThe latest signings again make it clear that the doors of the first team for the youth squads seem further than ever, and, on the other hand, that they want to follow in the footsteps of their rival
The pros of switching to Mercedes
It is clear to McLaren that they will modify their MCL35 as necessary. This can carry some benefits, but also drawbacks. On the positive side, first of all, McLaren will be able to use and test Mercedes engines one year before the 2022 regulatory change takes effect. The installation of the Mercedes engine will be facilitated from this same season by the German manufacturer, which will possibly avoid concerns regarding the integration of the power unit in the 2021 chassis, since it will hardly have any modifications compared to the current single-seater.
A change of scenery that could be positive for the Woking team, since they will be able to get to work with a completely new car and their implementation work for a key year in the team will not be as complex as could be expected. On the other hand, McLaren will be able to improve its performance when, in principle, nobody will improve its car from 2020 to 2021. The Mercedes engine will give more benefits to the British team and has greater reliability than Renault so it is evident that it will win a great engine. Carlos Sainz himself confirmed during the tests that the Renault engine had not undergone changes compared to last season, so the change may make McLaren that little jump.
They will ride an engine that has been a reference since 2014 and one of the bases of the team that has dominated F1 in the hybrid era. Equally, it is also true that it is not a guarantee of success, see the example of Racing Point or WilliamsBut the Woking team have more resources and personnel to take that small step that will bring them closer to the big three next season.
The biggest problem
The biggest problem it could present to those at Woking is that its chassis will now have to be modified to accommodate the different dimensions of the Mercedes engine. An extra investment that was not prepared. The designs of the power units are partly specified by the rules, but they can differ considerably between the different manufacturers and must avoid the commitments to install a unit that they have not designed in their chassis.
Even so, at McLaren they don’t think that coupling this new power unit is going to be a lot of work. They will have to do minimal variations in the chassis, to adjust the architecture of the engine. Where they will be able to make more changes will be in aerodynamics, because at the team meeting it was agreed that they are allowed in that area, although they also said that they will seek to stop at other plots to reduce costs.
McLaren is already looking forward to rejoining Mercedes. Union that had great successes in the past and thus leave behind a period of six years, three with Honda and three with Renault, in which it has not fought to win races, as should be the case for the second team with the most wins in the great circus. Having a year of testing with Mercedes before the big change will serve to start more strongly in 2022 in which big changes are expected in Formula 1. As a curiosity to note that McLaren will stay with Ferrari as the only rider who has not hired. Honda, Renault and Mercedes, an odyssey in search of reigning and in Woking they already expect it to be the definitive change.
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