While still retaining the distinctive family look established with both the MP4-22 and MP4-23, this year’s car is visually very different from its predecessors as a result of two main factors: Aerodynamics and KERS (kinetic energy recovery system)
This year’s aerodynamic regulations were framed by the FIA and the Overtaking Working Group (helmed by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes engineering director Paddy Lowe, Ferrari’s Rory Byrne and Renault’s Pat Symonds) which met throughout 2007 in order to address the issues affecting passing in Formula 1.
The OWG’s influence can be most clearly seen around the front wing, which has been widened to increase front-end load when following another car, and the rear wing – which is now more compact to offer less interference to chasing vehicles. Other factors affecting aerodynamics include the banning of ancillary appendages, the addition of driver-adjustable front-wing flaps and a heavily revised diffuser.
The MP4-24’s KERS device has been developed in collaboration with McLaren and Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, which has been developing and refining the system for almost two years. With a fully optimised KERS device’s output capped at 60kW/400kJ (discharging an additional 80bhp for 6.66s per lap), the development team’s primary focus has already shifted to further improving the unit’s integration within the chassis in order to minimise performance loss elsewhere within the package. An optimised KERS package can be expected to deliver a 0.4-0.6s gain per lap.