McLaren

MP4

 

A model of the legendary McLaren MP4 is run through bramble’s CFD software, view the analysed results below.

Increased design complexity

During the late 80s to early 90s, aerodynamics components increased in complexity with additions of devices such as multi-element wings and diffusers. One of the most successful cars from this period and Formula 1 history, is the McLaren MP4. This vehicle features a double element front wing, a three-element rear wing, and a diffuser on the rear of the underfloor.

McLaren MP4 design features

Diffusers

Cars from this generation onwards heavily exploited the addition of a diffuser. This device generates an expansion of air at the rear, inducing higher levels of suction under the underfloor, generating more downforce.

McLaren MP4 diffuser causing downforce
McLaren MP4 diffuser causing downforce

Diffusers

Cars from this generation onwards heavily exploited the addition of a diffuser. This device generates an expansion of air at the rear, inducing higher levels of suction under the underfloor, generating more downforce.

The Effect on the Flow

The addition of more complex devices led to interactions of the flow from different components, such as the front structures generated by the front wing interacting with the components downstream. One example is the vortex from the endplate bottom propagating downstream, after which it starts to loose coherence when in contact with the suspension wishbones, and further collapsing and merging with the tyre wake.

Downforce distribution

The largest downforce contributors on the McLaren MP4 are the front wings, underfloor, diffuser and rear wings, leading to an L/D ratio of 1.878 and an aero-balance of 43.40%.

Force distribution of McLaren MP4

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