McLaren reveal date for new wind tunnel benefit
By Ian Parkes
Friday 10th March, 2023 - 7:30am
Andrea Stella has revealed McLaren should start to reap the benefit from its new wind tunnel in June.
The team has invested heavily in its infrastructure in recent times in a bid to make itself more competitive in Formula 1.
For many years, McLaren has been renting one of the two tunnels owned by Toyota Motorsport at a cost of “millions”, according to team boss Stella.
McLaren has long stressed the fact it does not run its own wind tunnel is not an excuse for its failure to push its way toward the front.
Given how poorly it has started this season, by its own admission failing to hit its development targets, it appears the new wind tunnel cannot come online quickly enough.
Stella has confirmed a number of calibration tests are currently being run to ensure there is a correlation between the numbers it receives going forward.
“With a new wind tunnel, you have to use a reference model to see the correlation, let’s say repeatability,” said Stella.
“Certainly, the maps, the absolute numbers are going to be slightly different, so you need to reposition yourself in the new wind tunnel
“We don’t want to do it with the new car model, we want to do it with the old car model, to understand more about the new wind tunnel and then deploy the new car.”
Stella can hear tunnel from his office
Confirming the new tunnel is up and running, Stella added: “As hardware, it’s already commissioned, but there’s a process of calibration.
“With a wind tunnel, there is the installation of the methodologies that you use to measure the pressure, to measure the velocity field, to measure the forces.
“All this takes some weeks, and that’s where we are in terms of the commissioning phase of the wind tunnel.”
Stella has revealed that when the fan is switched on he can ‘hear it from his office’.
He added: “It’s so reassuring, like wow, we are making progress, but we can’t yet put the model in there for development.”
As to when data can first be used from the 60 percent scale model of the MCL60, Stella revealed: “Once the tunnel has gone through this calibration process and we have done the core relation exercise with the same model in the two wind tunnels, I would hope that in the space of a couple of weeks, we are ready to go for development.
“The plan is to have development starting in June.”
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