25 Apr 2014
McLaren's season hasn't got off to the best of starts albeit with the result in Melbourne buoying the team. It's yet to be seen if this is a failure on any new infrastructure that is being put in place given the departure of Martin Whitmarsh or it's just the other teams doing a better job. The team have clearly been compromised in performance, with Mercedes HPP only handing the teams the log style manifold in testing when they'd previously envisaged and packaged based the car on a much larger equal length manifold. I suspect we will see the team arrive in Barcelona with renewed vigor and a new design for their Sidepods, in order to take advantage of the additional space free'd up by the smaller exhausts.
The team made a change to the front wing for the Chinese GP, likely in response to the circuit being front limited (ie the car having the tendency to understeer). As we can see the vane has been split into two with additional angle of attack applied, noted by the height at which the vane sits at the trailing edge of the endplate. The singular vane has been in use since the end of the second pre-season test and as I alluded to back then its job is to affect the pressure gradient outside of the Endplate, drawing the airflow inside the Endplate outward and minimising the loss of 75mm either side of the front wing this season. The slots allow some of the airflow to move between the pressure gradients forming a spiral of airflow that further aids in this attempt to draw airflow outbound.