McLaren, Hungaroring, 2018

McLaren reverts to old chassis to fix Vandoorne’s mystery handling problem

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Stoffel Vandoorne has reverted to an old chassis for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix as McLaren have almost exhausted their options to solve his mystery handling problem.

Vandoorne said he had been “pushing the team” for a change of chassis.

“Over the past couple of races we started to change a lot of parts and there came a point where we nearly did everything we could and that was one of the last pieces remaining. It’s not easy for the team to do that, especially when it’s a back-to-back race. But they’ve managed it.”

The team confirmed at the previous race Vandoorne’s car was producing less downforce than team mate Fernando Alonso’s.

“The first lap in Silverstone is where it just didn’t feel right from the start,” said Vandoorne. “I think we’ve been last in every session since.”

McLaren still isn’t certain what has caused the problem, Vandoorne admitted.

“There’s no specific area we can say ‘okay that’s what’s causing it’, Tomorrow we have a couple of tests in place across the cars to further understand. Hopefully tomorrow we spot nothing, as that means the two cars are going to be good.”

Vandoorne hasn’t scored a point since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “McLaren reverts to old chassis to fix Vandoorne’s mystery handling problem”

  1. Last year’s chassis would be my choice.
    Brawn fitted a new engine in his 09 chassis in a couple of weeks.

    1. @coldfly An engine change is one thing, adding a Halo though…

      1. And I believe once a chasis is crash tested, a team can’t drill any new holes in it.

        1. @tonyyeb They can always drill a hole, call it a new chassis, and crash test it again.

          but AFAIK the not-feather-light halo (plus the probably comparitively very non-size zero PU) would probably ruin whatever the previous design tried to achieve.

          1. Well of course they can but that is just one of many more issues that running two different chassis would create. Of course Nando could have one too.

      2. Thanks @davidnotcoulthard, totally forgot about the halo.
        It proves, at least for me, that the halo has been accepted as normal within record time.
        I don’t even notice it anymore unless I see a driver doing contortion poses when leaving the car.

        1. @coldfly – Lucky you. I still can’t unsee it. The Todt thong makes this generation of ungainly single seat stretch limo racing even more silly. At least they’re really fast, silly looking limos.

    2. Plus last year’s chassis was the best on the grid if you believe McLaren…

  2. georgeboole (@)
    27th July 2018, 10:40

    The worst thing is that they have completely no idea what is going wrong with the chassis or the updates no matter how many tests they do on FP1

  3. What does it mean exactly: older chassis?
    I mean: performance wise both chassis should be same, no? They have crash tested a certain version of a chassis, isn’t that the one they have to use for the whole season (the version)?
    So why would they give drivers a new chassis during a season, unless the old one is damaged?
    Are all the aerodynamic parts (floors, wings, …) bolt-on or are some an integral part of the chassis?

    So now Stoffel has an older version of the chassis, does this mean he can’t use certain upgrades added during the season?

    1. unless they’ve crash tested 2 designs, it would be identical design, but there could be a manufacturing defect or minor damage to the one he’s using now.

      1. I understand, but why had they given him a new chassis anyway if the old one wasn’t damaged?

    2. I just think the word chassis is being used wrongly here. It could just be that vandoorne switches to older chassis aero parts while keeping the same monococque. This could mean things like different radiator layout, different wings, floors, bargeboards. But the same monococque.

  4. Why not put Alonso in Van Dornes car for FP1 and see what he can do with it?

    1. My first reaction was: seems very logical.
      But then I thought: what if Stoffel blows up Alonso’s engine, or crashes the car? I guess Alonso or the team doesn’t want to take that risk.

      1. I wasn’t thinking of letting van dorne in alonso car.

    2. They’d need to change tons of parts between the cars so there are no vandoorne’s part left in the car when alonso drives it. A lot of things are driver specific. Gearboxes, engines, steering wheels, seats, electronics, batteries…. Some because of regulations, some because of driver preference. Alonso can not drive a car with vandoorne’s engine in it. That is not allowed by the rules.

      Changing so many parts would negatively hurt both drivers as it would take a lot of time to change the parts. It would also cost lots of practise time for both alonso and vandoorne and for mclaren it would also mean they’d lose some time they’d need for their race weekend programs. It is too much work, too much time and too high risk of something going wrong when you need to disassemble and reassemble both cars just so another driver can have a go. They know there is an issue because they can see it in the telemetry so putting alonso in the car would not even tell them anything they don’t already know.

      1. Thank you for putting me straight. Getting too long in the tooth …… I fondly remember the days of private testing and far, far fewer regs.

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