The formula one championship is the perfect obsession for technology aficionados and speed demons of this world. A huge amount of people in the country follow Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button in their quest for winning the formula one championship, constructors and individual.
While many people follow the F1 championship very seriously, how many really know anything about the cars that they are dreaming about? The answer is very few. However, of the people who do not know much about Formula One cars and very few would say that they do not want to know too. So, here is a lowdown on this season’s brilliant piece of machinery: the McLaren Mercedes MP4-26.
The McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 is the culmination of last season’s car i.e. the McLaren Mercedes MP4-25 which was an interim model. The almost complete version, the McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 was launched earlier in the year in February in Berlin, Germany.
It is worth mentioning that even the McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 can be said to be incomplete because a few design novelties were not included in the Berlin launch model because of the nearness of the new Formula One season.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 is primarily being hailed for its U shaped side pod arrangement. The main objective of this design modification from older versions of McLaren cars is that it creates greater downforce for the car that, in turn, gives the driver greater control of the vehicle and reduces performance issues such as tyre wear and overuse.
The need for the U shaped side pod, as dubbed by the manufacturers themselves, was felt mainly because of the recent banning of the double diffuser component of the Formula One car design. All Formula One cars now have just one diffuser, which causes some major downforce and stability issues.
The impact of the U shaped side pod arrangement is that the air coming over the front wheels of the vehicle gets directed towards the centre of the vehicle instead of away from the vehicle, as used to be the norm in previous models. This extra air flowing over the centre of the car gives it greater downforce and stability over the other cars in the formula championship.
Moreover, as too much air flow can be unstable for any Formula One car, the length of the vehicle has been stretched to maximum possible, which gives it that little bit more air flow stability. In fact, the majority of modifications and improvements in the McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 have been made to give it more downforce.
These other modifications or improvements include the front nose of the car being high and long for creating downward pressure, the introduction of L shaped air ducts for pushing unstable front wheel air flow towards the centre, tightly packed rear for directing air flow to the single diffuser in the centre and a pull rod suspension system for emphasizing the rear of the vehicle.
The new McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 is expected to have a strong showing as can be seen from its second position in the constructors’ standing of the ongoing 2011 formula championship.