Last month, McLaren-Renault racing director, Eric Boullier, revealed that his team’s real 2018 challenger, featuring major upgrades, would debut during this year’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Well, here it is, in all its Papaya Orange glory. While the color scheme remains the same, the nose is completely new, featuring an opening at the front, just like the one found on the Red Bull cars. Also new are the channels installed on either side of the nose, similar to this year’s Saubers.
While the nose design isn’t tremendously original, the fact that the main body is flanked by two air-directing panels is a novelty in and of itself, as Autosport points out.
Meanwhile, the front wing pillars have been replaced by a new set that come together on a Mercedes-like cape, funneling the airflow so it can be of more service to the new turning vanes mounted underneath.
Spain Free Practice update
The revamped McLaren MCL33 has gone out and performed very well during the first practice session in Barcelona, with Fernando Alonso just 1.7 seconds off the pace of Valtteri Bottas, who was fastest. Alonso was also quicker than Ricciardo’s Red Bull, Grosjean’s impressive Haas and both Renault factory cars.
In the end, whether these changes will be enough to put McLaren on the same level as Red Bull, who also use Renault engines, remains to be seen. For the sake of more entertaining races, we certainly hope that it will.