Tech Talk: McLaren's various cooling options


25 February 2014 by Matt Somerfield

Cooling is one of the main priorities for all of the teams this season, with a massive increase in the electrical energy being both stored and used. Furthermore the thermal increase from the turbocharger makes shaping of the cooling inlets and outlets critical.

The problem of course is that teams increasingly want to minimise the size of these openings as they have an impact on the aerodynamic performance of the car in terms of drag and disrupting the airflow.

Bahrain was chosen as the backdrop for the last two pre-season tests of the season as it affords the teams some time to operate in temperatures closer to those seen during the season, something that testing in Europe can't replicate.

During the four days of testing, McLaren trialled a couple of options in order to assist the MP4-29 in maintain a lower heat signature. Firstly the team applied 'gurney trims' to the periphery of the cooling apertures either side of the exhaust (see above image, inset shows gurney trims used in Jerez). The trims create an area of low pressure just behind them helping to draw the hot air from the apertures. The inclusion of the trims might aid in exhausting the hot air but the drawback is it will create a net increase in drag and disturb the way in which the airflow in the region interacts.

The team therefore tested another option which saw the team utilise 'Shark Gills' along the power unit's cover (see above image, inset shows lack of cooling openings used in Jerez), allowing the hot air to escape ahead of the final outlet. There probably isn't a large difference in terms of efficiency from both solutions trialled and so it will be interesting to see which the team uses when it visits warmer climates.