McLaren is manufacturing fewer spare parts for its MCL36 challenger to have greater development flexibility during the 2022 Formula 1 season, including bringing an upgrade at the first race.
Teams are applying the finishing touches to their all-new cars ahead of the forthcoming campaign that will mark the start of F1’s new era and one of the world championship’s biggest regulation overhauls.
Adding to the challenge, teams are having to work under a more restrictive budget cap of $140m for the 2022 season, forcing them to be more efficient with their resources.
That has resulted in McLaren taking the decision to cut back on the amount of spares it is producing for the new season as part of a trade-off to ensure performance is not compromised.
“We’re manufacturing fewer [spare] parts,” said McLaren operations director Piers Thynne. “That is a cultural shift, but it will allow greater flexibility to consider upgrades.
“It’s a difficult trade to make but we will have smaller quantities of parts available for the ’36 than we had for the ’35M, to have room in the budget to deliver more performance.
“We’re not going to ever have too few parts to run the cars, we’ll always protect that, but where in the past we would have made five or six parts, we’re dropping to five; where it was four or five, we’re dropping to four.
“Where there are multiple set-up options of a part to fit, we’re considering rationing how those choices are made, collaborating with the race engineers to make sure we’re providing the choices they will want to use, rather than the choices they might want to use – because every pound counts and we’ve got to make sure we’re spending wisely.”
Thynne says the approach will ultimately enable McLaren to introduce more upgrades for its MCL36 throughout the season, the first of which is scheduled for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20.
According to Thynne, McLaren’s workload has increased by more than 20% over the winter compared to previous seasons due to the shake-up to the technical regulations.
“We know performance at race one is critical, and we’ll be delivering an upgrade package to that event – but we expect much more to follow,” he explained.
“One of the reasons we’re being lean on stock is that we know we want to evolve the car. There are no prizes for having six floors and six front wings at the first race.
“We’ll be taking some subtly different approaches this year to make sure production capacity is available and can respond to aerodynamic evolution. That will be key to success this year.”
– Lewis Larkam | Crash.net