Did McLaren reveal design secrets with 2022 F1 car teaser photos?

McLaren is the first Formula 1 team to give us a glimpse of its 2022 challenger, posting a picture of the MCL36’s chassis on its Instagram account, along with a few other teaser shots.

Did McLaren reveal design secrets with 2022 F1 car teaser photos?

Of course, the angle that it has been photographed from means we can't learn a great deal from what's on show, but there are a few design clues worth noting about its first contender built to the new rules set.

The most obvious of these is that while the general design of the roll hoop and airbox carries over from last season, with the two angled spars retained in the centre of the assembly, the perimeter shaping has been narrowed slightly at the top.

We can also see the shape and position of the sidepods and their inlet beside the chassis, which appear to have been exchanged for a more conventional low-mounted position.

The decision for this design change has largely been driven by the regulation changes, with the dimensional criteria of the bodywork and moreover the position of the SIPS (Side Impact Protection Spars) now required to be higher than in the last few seasons.

Ferrari SF70H side detail

Ferrari SF70H side detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This means that the high inlet position, that was introduced in 2017 by Ferrari and every challenger featured last season, is much more difficult to achieve and likely becomes less effective given the change in flow structure emanating from the front of the car in any case.

Notably in the foreground we can see that the chassis not only slopes down but also appears to taper inwards too, much like the chassis' predecessor, which suggests that the team will look to carryover a slimline nose design like it has had for the last few years – albeit adjusted to meet the new regulatory constraints regarding the nose tips height and interaction with the front wing elements.

McLaren MCL35M front detail

McLaren MCL35M front detail

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

It's also worth mentioning that there's some suggestion that we'll see teams employ pullrod suspension at the front of the car again in 2022, owing to several factors. These include the change in suspension geometry, given that the upright extensions used over the last few seasons have been outlawed, which will have a bearing on the position of the suspension arms and as a consequence the airflows' trajectory towards the sidepod inlet – which will likely be mounted lower.

There's also a small benefit in terms of CoG (Centre of Gravity) to consider with a pullrod layout, with more of the weight housed at a lower point in the chassis. The loads that the suspension will undergo will be altered by the introduction of the 18-inch wheel rims and lower-profile tyres.

McLaren used a pullrod front suspension in 2013 on its MP4/28, having aped a design that Ferrari employed a year earlier on the F2012.

While Ferrari continued to employ the design up until 2015, McLaren considered the adventure over and reverted to a pushrod layout in 2014. It'll be interesting to see if either team ventures down this route once more.

Mercedes W12 bracket detail, banned in 2022

Mercedes W12 bracket detail, banned in 2022

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Ferrari F2012 pull rod front suspension vs Red Bull RB8 push rod front suspension

Ferrari F2012 pull rod front suspension vs Red Bull RB8 push rod front suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

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