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.
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"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."
PowerplantThroughout 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 GreenAs 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
- Type: Mercedes-Benz e-Motor, Engine-mounted electrical motor/generator, integrated energy storage cells and power electronics
- Power: 60 kW