The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team combines the strong driver pairing of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton for the third year running in 2012, along with a substantially revised car to meet the FIA's rule changes. The most noticeable change between last year and the new MP4-27 is at the rear, where tighter rear carbon-fiber composite body shaping has been designed to meet the new-for-2012 exhaust rules, whilst smoothing airflow to and from the coolant and oil radiators.

"We reverted to a more conventional side-pod shape for this season because the U-shape was less suited to the new exhaust geometry restrictions," Director of Engineering Tim Goss explains.


More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.


"For 2012, the exhaust tailpipes now have to exit along the U-channel - so that particular feature was no longer really viable due to the new geometry restrictions. As a result, we decided to adopt a different approach to the way we feed the rear of the car.

"The regulations around the exhausts are very prescriptive: the exhausts must now exit within a very tight space at the rear of the car in order to minimize their aerodynamic influence. The final 100mm of the exhausts must be cylindrical - so they can no longer be oval, or flattened - and must be sited at a particular vertical and horizontal angle - between 10 and 30 degrees upwards. That's to direct the exhaust exit away from the floor."


Throughout the car, every component was scrutinized with a view to reducing weight, increasing life and improving performance, but the basic and well proven Mercedes 90 degree 2.4 liter, 32 valve V-8 remains.

"With the regulations remaining relatively stable, we've really been able to focus on the detail with this year's car," says Jenson Button. "I still think we had a very fast package last year - it was very strong in certain areas - and our race pace was almost always fantastic, but we're hoping for a further step forwards in 2012. With Mercedes-Benz, I think we also had the best overall engine and KERS Hybrid package in the pitlane."

Team Green

As a sign of the times, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes became the first carbon-neutral Formula 1 team last year, reducing its carbon footprint and purchasing carbon credits to completely offset the team's emissions during the 2011 season.
  • Monocoque: McLaren-moulded carbon fiber composite incorporating front and side impact structures
  • Front suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pushrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
  • Rear suspension: Inboard torsion bar/damper system operated by pullrod and bell crank with a double wishbone arrangement
  • Electronics: McLaren Electronic Systems. Including chassis control, engine control, data acquisition, dashboard, alternator, sensors, data analysis and telemetry
  • Bodywork: Carbon-fiber composite. Separate engine cover, sidepods and floor. Structural nose with integral front wing. Driver-operated drag reduction system
  • Tyres: Pirelli P Zero
  • Radio: Kenwood
  • Race wheels: Enkei
  • Brakes: Akebono
  • Batteries: GS Yuasa Corporation
  • Steering: McLaren power-assisted
  • Instruments: McLaren Electronic Systems
  • Paint: AkzoNobel Car Refinishes using Sikkens products
  • Engine: Mercedes-Benz FO 108Z
  • Capacity: 2.4 liters
  • Cylinders: 90 degree V-8
  • Maximum rpm: 18,000
  • Piston bore: 98mm
  • Number of valves: 32
  • Fuel: ExxonMobil High Performance Unleaded (5.75% bio fuel)
  • Spark plugs: NGK racing spark plugs specially designed for Formula 1
  • Lubricants: Mobil 1
  • Weight: 95kg (minimum FIA regulation weight)
  • Gearbox: McLaren-moulded carbon-fibre composite, integral rear impact structure
  • Gears: Seven forward and one reverse
  • Gear selection: McLaren seamless shift, hand-operated
  • Clutch:Carbon/carbon, hand-operated

KERS Hybrid

  • Type: Mercedes-Benz e-Motor, Engine-mounted electrical motor/generator, integrated energy storage cells and power electronics
  • Power: 60 kW
View gallery - 26 images