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Formula 1

Sainz confused as chassis change fails to help cooling issue

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Carlos Sainz Jr says McLaren’s chassis change has not solved his Formula 1 car’s cooling problem and the team is “starting to run out of things to try”.

McLaren noticed an anomaly last weekend at Silverstone, where Sainz’s car was suffering from a cooling issue that threatened his Renault engine if it was not addressed.

As it could not identify the cause of the problem, McLaren opted to run Sainz’s car with slightly open bodywork in qualifying and the race, then changed his monocoque for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix in the hope it would help.

“We’ve changed everything on the car so we’re starting to run out of things to try” :: Carlos Sainz Jr

But Sainz reported after Friday practice at Barcelona that it did not improve and so “a lot of work and analysis” is still required to work out what to do next, as “we’re nearly at the limit of things we can change”.

“At the moment we haven’t really solved the issue,” he said after setting the seventh-fastest time in FP2.

“We still see some discrepancies across the two cars, especially my car, we’re having to run with more cooling on the car which costs quite a lot of lap time around here.

Carlos Sainz Jr Lando Norris McLaren Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

“So still not fully into the bottom of the problem.

“We still need to keep searching because at the moment it’s a big question mark we haven’t found and we’ve changed everything on the car so we’re starting to run out of things to try.

“Hopefully we can find the last thing or the main thing that will give us the final answer.

“But at the moment it’s tricky.”

“I feel like I would’ve had more grip on the wets than the hards” :: Lando Norris

McLaren had a difficult race in hot temperatures last Sunday as other teams adjusted to the conditions more effectively.

Sainz and Lando Norris were left to lament the car’s performance on the hardest compound tyres on Friday in Spain, with Sainz claiming “the tyre doesn’t really grip to the Tarmac with this heat” and warning that “at the moment it looks like it could be a very tough race”.

Norris called the hard tyre “garbage”, adding: “I feel like I would’ve had more grip on the wets than the hards, I don’t know why.

Lando Norris McLaren Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

“I think it’s similar for everyone, any time anyone was on the hard tyre they looked awful and they went on the medium or the soft and improved massively.”

The performance of the C1 compound may complicate teams’ respective strategy choices for Sunday’s race, and Sainz said the combination of issues poses a headache.

He explained: “The single-lap pace is not bad. The long-run pace needs a lot of work. We see teams like Renault and Racing Point running quicker than us.

“We need to keep working and finding the little issues we only have in the race – see if we can first solve the cooling issue and then find more performance in the long run.”


– Gary Anderson

Carlos Sainz Jr McLaren Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

When you are chasing down a cooling problem between two cars in the same team, it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the actual problem.

Firstly, you need to make sure the drivers are using the power unit in the same way over a lap. Then, it is basically down to the systems – engine water and oil, gearbox oil, hydraulic oil, ERS storage and MGU-K are all culprits generating heat and require cooling.

If you have gone through changing the radiators for each of these and there is no benefit it, then it boils down to the components that are creating the heat.

In Sainz’s case, I don’t know which of these elements is causing the problem but with these regulations of limited power unit components for the season you can’t just go changing them willy nilly. You need to wait until you need components for another reason.

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